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First humpback whale of season spotted in Maui waters

COURTESY PACIFIC WHALE FOUNDATION
                                A humpback whale is seen in waters off of Kihei, Maui.
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COURTESY PACIFIC WHALE FOUNDATION

A humpback whale is seen in waters off of Kihei, Maui.

COURTESY PACIFIC WHALE FOUNDATION
                                The Pacific Whale Foundation sighted the fluke of whale NP2376, the first humpback whale of the season, in waters off of Kihei, Maui.
2/2
Swipe or click to see more

COURTESY PACIFIC WHALE FOUNDATION

The Pacific Whale Foundation sighted the fluke of whale NP2376, the first humpback whale of the season, in waters off of Kihei, Maui.

COURTESY PACIFIC WHALE FOUNDATION
                                A humpback whale is seen in waters off of Kihei, Maui.
COURTESY PACIFIC WHALE FOUNDATION
                                The Pacific Whale Foundation sighted the fluke of whale NP2376, the first humpback whale of the season, in waters off of Kihei, Maui.

The Pacific Whale Foundation has sighted its first humpback whale this fall in Maui waters, marking the start of whale watching season.

The foundation’s research team sighted the fluke and flipper of the whale at 8:15 a.m. Wednesday about five miles off the coast of Kihei. The team was able to identify the whale as NP2376, an adult male last sighted Aug. 19 in southeast Alaska.

He was first documented in 2019 and known as a “bubble-netter,” which refers to a cooperative hunting strategy using bubbles to stun and trap fish closer to the surface.

Hawaii’s humpback whale watching season runs from about November to April, and typically peaks between January and March, although some whales can arrive earlier and linger longer.

Every year, thousands of whales travel over 3,500 miles from Alaskan waters to the warmer oceans of Hawaii to breed, give birth, and nurse their young.

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary protects humpback whales and their habitat in and around Maui County waters. The sanctuary is made up of five separate areas abutting six of the main isles in the state, but centered mostly around the isles of Molokai, Lanai and Maui.

Wildlife officials remind boaters and other ocean users to slow down in sanctuary waters, post a lookout with an extra set of eyes, and to keep a safe and legal distance of 100 yards from whales.

Federal regulations prohibit approaching within 100 yards of humpback whales when on or in the water, and 1,000 feet when operating an aircraft.

Additional guidelines and safety tips are available at this link.

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