Report: Humpback Whales Wintering in Maui
between the base of Maui's tropical green mountains and the edge of the
deep blue Pacific lies the "birthing room" of humpback whales
of the North Pacific. This is also the "backyard" of students
from Maui Adventist School (MAS), who are attempting to establish the
optimum weeks for tourists to view whale activity from a land-based site.
Their observations are from The Pali Lookout, one of the most popular
whale observation areas on Maui. MAS Principal Dennis Kingma said, "The
whales start to leave in March, so that could signal spring conditions
in the North Pacific. I wonder if it's just biological—or are there
climatic indicators that would induce early or late departure from Maui?
Maybe we will find out."
On their February 12th, 2001 field trip with the Pacific Whale Foundation, MAS students saw many Humpback whales. They learned a lot about the whales' behavior and natural history. Here's some of their news:
Braiden, Grade 7"In former whale watches we have learned many interesting things about whales. Whales have been sighted within one mile off the shores of Maui. Humpback whales are very amusing and very playful. Whales are enormous in size and weight. An average Humpback whale can grow 40 to 50 feet long and can weigh 25 to 40 tons. Humpback whales are baleen whales, which means they have baleen hanging off their upper jaws instead of teeth. Baleen is made out of the same substance as our fingernails, and they use the baleen to filter their food. Baleen whales feed on krill and small fish by first taking in a lot of water, then filtering it with their baleen and eating whatever is left in their mouth.
"Whales come here to the Hawaiian Islands all the way from Alaska. They stay here for only 4-6 months and then go back to Alaska. They come to Hawaii just to breed and give birth, and they stay in Alaska to eat because here in Hawaii there is no food for them to feed on."
Listen to the song of one Humpback whale:
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