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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, January 26, 2003

A whale-watching job as easy as 1-2-3

 •  Gigantic visitors always good for a fascinating show
 •  Typical humpback behaviors: breaching, slapping and singing (Flash player required)
 •  See them splash; see the jungle, too
 •  Migration schedule is not well understood

By Chris Oliver
Advertiser Staff Writer

 •  Top 10 O'ahu whale lookouts

1. Halona Blowhole Lookout
2. Mokapu Point (Marine Corps Base Hawaii)
3. Makapu'u Point Lighthouse
4. Ka'ena Point — Leeward side
5. Hanauma Bay
6. Shark's Cove/ Pupukea Beach Park
7. Ka'ena Point — North Shore
8. Turtle Bay Resort
9. Lanikai — Wailea Point
10. Makua Cave

Counting whales is a job listing you won't find in too many newspapers around the world.

There's no pay, but the benefits are unbeatable: beautiful locations and the chance to see some of the biggest animals on the planet.

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary ocean count began yesterday with more than 2,000 volunteers on O'ahu, the Big Island and Kaua'i recording whale sightings over a three-hour period.

"Having our volunteers count whales at the same time on the same day on three islands gives us a snapshot of how many whales are viewable across the state," said Christine Brammer, coordinator for the count.

The whale count continues Feb. 22 and March 29 and collects data that enable the group to study whale populations, distribution and behavior.

Brammer said count results will be published in the fall at www.hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov. To register, volunteers can call 397-2656 on O'ahu, (888) 559-4253 for the Big Island, (808) 246-2860 on Kaua'i. No experience is necessary.

On O'ahu, the high vantage points of the southeast coast make for especially good viewing, though sharp eyes can spot whales from any of a number of spots islandwide, Brammer said.