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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Sunday, January 6, 2002

You can see humpbacks from shore

 •  Whale boating excursions offer awe-inspiring experience
 •  How to select a vessel for whale-watching
 •  Whale tour options

Hawai'i has many easily accessible sites

You don't have to board a boat to see humpback whales. They spend enough time close to shore that they can be seen from land, as well, although not so dramatically, of course. Binoculars are helpful.

O'ahu: John Clark, author of a series of books on Hawai'i beaches, recommends finding a spot with a high-elevation view of the water. Makapu'u Lighthouse is an easily accessible site. He said whales are most frequently seen from O'ahu's east and west ends and from the North Shore but not townside. Also an option: Lana'i Lookout just past Hana'uma Bay near Halona Blowhole. Whales are often sighted near Ka'ena Point, but they're difficult to see from land.

Maui: Papawai Point (McGregor Lighthouse), on Honoapi'ilani Highway between Ma'alaea and Lahaina, is a good spot (and a team from Pacific Whale Foundation is there daily with an information table). Also favored, with the most sightings in last year's Pacific Whale Foundations Great Whale Count, is Pohaku Park in Kahana, past Lahaina. On Maui, a Whale Watch report is given each day at 8:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. on radio station KPOA, 93.5 FM.

Counting whales: Maui — This season's Pacific Whale Foundation Great Whale Count on Maui is Feb. 23; call (Maui) 879-8860, or from other islands or the Mainland, (800) 942-5311, or pacificwhale.org. Other islands — The annual Ocean Count sponsored by the National Marine Sanctuary is set for 8 a.m.-noon Jan. 26, Feb. 23 and March 30 on O'ahu, the Big Island and Kaua'i. Phone numbers: O'ahu, 397-2656; Kaua'i, 246-2860; Hawai'i, (888) 55-WHALE or www.hihwnms.nos.noaa.gov.