Posted on: November 12, 2012

Welcome Home the Whales Celebration to be Held on Saturday, November 24

Pacific Whale Foundation is honoring the return of the humpback whales to Maui with its annual "Welcome Home the Whales" Celebration Cruises on Saturday, November 24. 

These two-hour whalewatches will be 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 whalewatch cruises depart from  Ma'alaea Harbor at 9:00 am and 11:30 am, and Lahaina Harbor at 9:00 and 11:30.
 
"The whales are back -- we've been seeing them recently on our cruises --  and we're ready to celebrate," says John Gaskins, Customer Care Manager at Pacific Whale Foundation. "This event honors the thousands of humpback whales that arrive here each winter, and marks the official start of Maui's whalewatch season."
 
 Whale sightings are guaranteed, or you get a free ticket for a whalewatch the next day (or any day you choose through May 15, 2013). Each party will receive a free whale poster. The cruise will also include a free Jr. Naturalist Program for kids. 


 
The price is $24.95 for adults and $17.95 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.
 
As part of the celebration, a 20% off lunch and dinner special will be offered at Porto, Mediterranean Grill and Flame-Fired Pizzeria at the Ma'alaea Harbor Shops. Ticket holders for the Welcome Home the Whales Celebration Cruises will receive a discount coupon that will entitle them to 20% off on all food, including salads, pizza, panini, sandwiches, entrees and desserts, as well as 20% off on all beverages, including local microbrew beer and wine. Porto's menu features many local ingredients and produce from Maui farms. Porto's menu can be viewed at www.portomaui.com. To order by phone for takeout or make reservations, please call (808) 856-8337. 
 
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 help save whales and our oceans. Pacific Whale Foundation's research programs thus far this year have included humpback whale photoidentification, research and education programs in Ecuador; blue whale studies in Chile; humpback whale photoidentification, research and education programs in Hervey Bay, Australia; and studies documenting the density and distribution of toothed whales off the coasts of Maui and Lana'i.
 
"This winter, Pacific Whale Foundation's researchers are 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 "Be Whale Aware" educational program 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 Whale Search Cruises since November 6. The Whale Search Cruises have provided early season whale sightings. Whalewatch season officially begins at Pacific Whale Foundation with the Welcome Home the Whales Cruises on November 24. From November 24 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. Pacific Whale Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1980, dedicated to protecting whales through science and advocacy. To learn more, visit www.pacificwhale.org.
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