Posted on: November 21, 2013

Pacific Whale Foundation Welcomes Home the Whales on Saturday, November 30

 Pacific Whale Foundation is honoring the return of the humpback whales to Maui with its annual "Welcome Home the Whales" Celebration on Saturday, November 30.
 
The celebration features Welcome Home the Whales whalewatch cruises led by members of Pacific Whale Foundation's research team, who will offer special insights about the whales and expert interpretations of the whales' behaviors based on the organization's 33 years of whale research in Hawaii and other parts of the Pacific. A team of Pacific Whale Foundation's Certified Marine Naturalists will also be onboard each trip to answer guests' questions about whales. 
 
These special two-hour whalewatch cruises depart from Ma'alaea Harbor at 9:00 am and 11:30 am, and Lahaina Harbor at 9:00 am, 11:30 am and 2:00 pm. 
 
The day's festivities will also include a 25% off storewide sale at Pacific Whale Foundation's Ocean Stores in Lahaina and Ma'alaea and "Happy Hour" prices on appetizers, flame-fired pizzettes, local brewery beer, wine, tea and lemonade at Porto, Pacific Whale Foundation's flame-fired artisan pizzeria in Ma'alaea. 
 
"The whales are back -- we've been seeing them on our early season whalewatches --  and we're ready to celebrate," says John Gaskins, Customer Care General Manager at Pacific Whale Foundation. "This event is a great family activity for the Saturday after Thanksgiving." 
 
Whale sightings are guaranteed on the Welcome Home the Whales cruises, or you get a free ticket for a whalewatch that you can use at your convenience anytime within the next year. Each party will receive a free whale poster. The cruise will also include a free Jr. Naturalist Program for kids.
 
Cruise ticket prices are $24.95 for adults and $17.00 for children ages 7 to 12  Kids ages 6 and under go free (one child per paying adult.) By booking online at www.pacificwhale.org, guests will save 10%. Pacific Whale Foundation Members will save 20%.
 
For additional information or to reserve by phone, please call (808) 249-8811 ext. 1.
 
Ocean Store Sale
Pacific Whale Foundation's Ocean Stores at 612 Front St., Lahaina and at the Ma'alaea Harbor Shops off Route 30 will be holding a 25% off storewide sale throughout the day on Saturday, November 30. Pacific Whale Foundation Members will save 30% off their purchases. (Maui Jim sunglasses and cameras are not included in the sale.) 
 
Porto Special
As part of the celebration, "Happy Hour" prices will be offered throughout the day, from 11 am to 8 pm, at Porto, Mediterranean Grill and Pizzeria at the Ma'alaea Harbor Shops. All appetizers will be $6. Flame-fired garlic and rosemary pizzettes will be just $7. Maui Brewing Co. microbrew beer will be $3, all wines by the glass will be $6 and cold glasses of Porto's housemade lemonade and iced tea will be $2. Porto's menu can be viewed at www.portomaui.com. Profits from Porto support Pacific Whale Foundation's work to protect whales and our oceans through science and advocacy. 
 
Help Support Whale Research, Education and Conservation Programs
A portion of each whalewatch ticket sold for the Welcome Home the Whales cruises will go directly to fund whale research; all profits generated will support Pacific Whale Foundation's work to protect whales and our oceans through science and advocacy. Pacific Whale Foundation's research programs thus far this year have included humpback whale photoidentification studies in Ecuador; blue whale studies in Chile; humpback whale photoidentification in Hervey Bay, Australia; and studies documenting the density and distribution of odontocetes off the coasts of Maui and Lana'i.
 
"This winter, Pacific Whale Foundation's researchers are again heading to sea on our dedicated research vessel Ocean Protector to document the density of humpback whales found in the four-island region between Maui, Moloka'i, Lana'i and Kaho'olawe," said Greg Kaufman, Founder and Executive Director of Pacific Whale Foundation. "This scientific study, permitted by National Marine Fisheries Service Office of Protected Resources, is part of PWF's ongoing effort to identify 'hot spots' where it's especially important for vessels to keep a watchful eye for whales and maintain reduced speeds."  Pacific Whale Foundation will share its findings with boaters as part of its free "Be Whale Aware" educational program on December 9, and will provide data to wildlife managers at NMFS and Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
 
Kaufman stresses that this research is made possible through revenues generated by Pacific Whale Foundation's whalewatches and ocean ecotours. "We offer the only Maui whalewatches and cruises that are owned by a bona fide nonprofit organization," notes Kaufman. "We thank the public for choosing us and helping to fund this work."
 
Pacific Whale Foundation has been offering early season whalewatches with guaranteed sightings since November 4. From November 4 until May 15, whale sightings are guaranteed on all Pacific Whale Foundation whalewatch cruises. Guests who do not see whales during this time period get a "Just a Fluke" coupon to go again free. 
 
For information about Welcome Home the Whales or other events at Pacific Whale Foundation, please call (808) 249-8811 ext. 1 or visit www.pacificwhale.org.
 
Downloadable guides with photos and factual information about Hawaii's humpback whales are offered free athttp://www.pacificwhale.org/content/wildlife-guides
 
Pacific Whale Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1980, dedicated to protecting whales through science and advocacy.
 
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