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Honolulu Harbor again plays host to 2 humpback whales

By Gregg K. Kakesako

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 03:16 p.m. HST, Jan 06, 2012



Two humpback whales entered Honolulu Harbor again late Thursday night, but haven't been spotted in the area today.

The Coast Guard said as of 10:30 a.m., there were no sightings of the two humpbacks. If they are seen, a Coast Guard boat will enforce a 100-yard safety zone around the endangered animals, said Petty Officer Anthony Soto.

"We continue to monitor the situation," he added.

Wendee Goo, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokesman, said federal officials also were monitoring Honolulu Harbor and did not report any sightings of the two whales.

Goo said NOAA officials were able to to confirm reports from a captain of vessel that two humpback whales followed his ship into the harbor.

She said the Coast Guard this morning re-issued a mariner's broadcast to remind boaters to stay away from the animals. Humpback whales are protected under the Endangered Species Act so vessels are required to stay at least 100 yards away from them at all times.

Soto said the two whales were spotted at 11 p.m. Thursday, but did not have further details.

Early Thursday, a pair of humpback whales, likely a mother and its yearling, were spotted just after 9 a.m. after they followed the Ocean Pearl, a 65-foot commercial fishing boat into the harbor. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said the two whales spent time within the harbor near Pier 35, and later Pier 29.

The Coast Guard said the two whales left the harbor at about 2:15 p.m.

There were reports of four additional whales early Thursday morning near Pier 2, but these could not be confirmed. 






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