Volunteer for the humpback whales on Hawaii in 2013

Do you want to volunteer half day to watch Humpback Whales? If you are on Hawaii during the last Saturday of January, February and March 2013 and want to do something good for the Humpback Whales, you are in luck!  You can volunteer 4 hours of your time to help preserve and protect the Humpback Whales by joining the Sanctuary Ocean Count project.


A tail slap seen during the 2011 ocean count at Hookena Beach Park, Big Island, Hawaii. Photo credit: Barbara Pfuhl

The Sanctuary ocean Count

The Sanctuary Ocean Count is a project that monitors humpback whales from the shores of Oahu, Hawaii (the Big Island) and Kauai. It is held 3 times/year on the last Saturday of January, February, and March between 8:00 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.

The data that is collected serves as a tool to supplement scientific information gathered from other research activities. The count also provides information on how whales use in-shore waters on an average peak season day. Approximately every five years the data is analyzed and published in a report that is made available on the sanctuary’s Web site. There you can find the preliminary results of each count, as well as a list of final reports of all the counts held up to 2010.

The 2013 Sanctuary Ocean Count dates are
January 26, February 23, and March 30.

How can you volunteer for the 2013 Sanctuary Ocean Count

Everybody can participate  in this project, and we highly recommend you do. Previous editions have proven it to be a fun volunteer activity for residents and visitors, as well as a good help.

You can register as a volunteer or as a site leader starting December 16 2012. You can find more information on signing up and a registration form here.

hawaii lapakahi sanctuary ocean count 2012

Volunteers on the Big Island location “Lapakahi” during the 2012 Sanctuary Ocean Count event. Photo Credit: Patricia Morgan

Why do the Humpback Whales need your help?

The first question you should ask yourself when reading this is not “why?”, but “why not?”. Spending half a day with the whales AND doing something good AND making a memory you will likely never forget sounds like a pretty good deal to us.

If you want to help out but are not on Hawaii during these dates, have a look at more volunteering opportunities on Hawaii’s Big Island for a complete list of working on your good karma.

The humpback whales around Hawaii are part of the endangered North Pacific humpback whale population, but this population (like almost every other humpback whale population) is still relatively unknown. Data collected in this survey help scientists understand the (Hawaiian) humpback whales and thus makes all preservation efforts more effective!

The Sanctuary Ocean Count is a means to provide Hawaii residents and visitors with the opportunity to observe humpback whales in their breeding grounds by conducting a yearly shore-based census during the peak breeding season

Another way to help: Buy the T-Shirt

The Sanctuary Ocean Count t-shirt is a good gift to give.

If you cannot join the ocean count but would like to help make a difference, you can support the Sanctuary ocean count by buying  a t-shirt from their online store. All proceeds benefit the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

This year’s shirts feature a compilation of student artwork from the Sanctuary’s Ocean Contest and are printed on high quality organic cotton t-shirts.

Find out things you never knew about the Humpback Whales

Humpback whales are very impressive animals, even when you look at their size alone. Even seeing one in the distant ocean is enough to make many people (locals and visitors) exclaim: “Look, a whale!”. Next to their size, there are many other facts that make these whales remarkable creatures. You can earn more about them by reading the following stories.

Did you know that you can sometimes hear the whales sing under water? Sometimes when you are at the beach all you have to do is stick your head under water. Find out more at hearing the whales and whale watching on Hawaii.

For fun humpback whale information and trivia (did you know a whale is more closely related to a giraffe than to a fish?) see our Humpback Whale 101 and also don’t forget to read our 6 great whale watching tips if you are going on a whale watching tour.