conservation ftw

Whale Census

This weekend was the February Whale Count. Since we had a tsunami the weekend before, it was postponed.

My day consisted of getting up around 5am, getting ready (including packing a bag with snacks, water, sun screen, sunglasses, a hat, etc) and heading out before sunrise to the Lanai Lookout, which is a spot on the other side of Diamond Head from where I live.

The sunrise was spectacular, with light bursting from behind pink and orange clouds and the water shining like liquid gold.

And then I realized I couldn’t see a thing on the water because of the glare.

Once the sun was up enough, we (the group of about 12 whale counters at our site, that is) could see the water clearly enough to whale watch and set about keeping track of the whales and their behavior. I don’t know if you’ve ever been whale watching, but mostly what you see are tiny little poofs of mist when they come to the surface to breathe, which is about every 20 to 30 minutes.

That was basically what we saw. We had to watch the entire visible part of the ocean and write down what we saw and what time (within a 30 minute block) we saw it. I’d say we had about 4 instances of really exciting sightings, including a whale that breached a half dozen times in a row about halfway to the horizon. I couldn’t photograph it, so you’ll have to take my word for it that it was amazing. Way more amazing than poofs of mist.

Our count at the end of the day? Twenty-two adults and one calf. We saw a few more than that before the count started, but the times are strictly controlled to get an accurate count, so they were not included.

The experience was interesting and very enjoyable and I’m excited about doing it again at the end of the month. I might even convince J to go out there with me this time.