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Count Humpback Whales from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park

January 14, 2014

Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park encourages volunteers to register to help count humpback whales during the 2014 Sanctuary Ocean Count held the last Saturday of January, February and March (Jan. 25, Feb. 22, and Mar. 29), from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

tail slap

This whale was photographed slapping its tail offshore from the end of Chain of Craters Road in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park in early January 2014. Photo courtesy of Thomas C. Stein

Ka‘ena Point, located at the end of Chain of Craters Road in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, is one of Hawai‘i Island’s 21 Sanctuary Ocean Count sites. Volunteers on shore monitor humpbacks in nearshore waters for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. Residents and visitors look forward to this yearly event which provides important population and distribution information about humpback whales around the Hawaiian Islands.

The Sanctuary Ocean Count is an ideal opportunity for the community and the park to work together as stewards of the ocean. These splendid creatures swim more than 2,000 miles to Hawai‘i from Arctic waters every winter, and the annual count is one way to observe and record their behavior and ensure their future.

For more information, visit To register online, visit For any additional questions please call the Ocean Count Hotline 808-268-3087.

Click here for a list of other sites on Hawai‘i Island and throughout the state, including our sister park Pu‘ukoholā National Historic Site in Kawaihae.

Registered volunteers meet Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park volunteer and Sanctuary Ocean Count site leader Jennifer Watson at the end of Chain of Craters Road on the scheduled count days.

Can’t make the Sanctuary Ocean Count this year, or just want to “eavesdrop” in on these amazing leviathans? Listen to them singing LIVE from Puako, thanks to the Jupiter Foundation!

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