Posted on: November 9, 2011

"Welcome Home the Whales" Celebration To Be Held on Sat., Nov. 26

Pacific Whale Foundation is honoring the return of the humpback whales to Maui with its annual "Welcome Home the Whales" Celebration on Saturday, November 26. The day-long celebration includes special whalewatch cruises with Pacific Whale Foundation's researchers, a benefit lunch at the new artisan pizza restaurant Porto, and an Open House at Pacific Whale Foundation's research labs and discovery center in Ma'alaea. 

"The whales are back and we're ready to celebrate," says Pacific Whale Foundation's Cynthia Mayer, Chief Operations Officer - Eco-Adventures. "This event honors the thousands of humpback whales that arrive here each fall, and marks the official start of Maui's whalewatch season."

Welcome Home the Whales is also the kick-off of the 2011-2012 Maui Whale Festival, a six month series of events hosted by Pacific Whale Foundation.

Pacific Whale Foundation's Welcome Home the Whales Celebration Cruises will be offered on November 26 from Ma'alaea and Lahaina Harbors. Departures are at 9:00 am and 11:30 am from Ma'alaea and 11:30 am from Lahaina. These two-hour whalewatches will be led by members of Pacific Whale Foundation's research team, who offer special insights about the whales and expert interpretations of the whales' behaviors. Whale sightings are guaranteed, or you get a free ticket for a whalewatch the next day (or any day you choose through May 15, 2011).  

Each party will also receive a free whale poster and color whalewatch guide to take home. The cruise will also include a free Jr. Naturalist Program for kids. 

The price is $24.95 for adults and $17 for children ages 7 to 12  Kids ages 6 and under go free (one child per paying adult.)  By booking online at, guests will save 10%. Pacific Whale Foundation Members will save 20%.

For additional information, please call (808) 249-8811 ext. 1.
As part of the celebration, a lunch special will be offered at Porto, a new flame-fired artisan pizza restaurant that will be opening 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 32% off on all food and beverages. Porto's Neapolitan-style pizzas are made using organic and local ingredients, plus authentic San Marzano tomatoes. For details, please call Pacific Whale Foundation at (808) 249-8811 ext. 1. 

In addition, Pacific Whale Foundation will be hosting an Open House at its offices in Ma'alaea. The public is invited to tour the research labs, discovery center classrooms and green offices of Pacific Whale Foundation. Refreshments will also be served. Pacific Whale Foundation's staff will be on hand to discuss the nonprofit's work in the areas of research, education and advocacy on behalf of whales.

The Open House takes place from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm and is free and open to all. Pacific Whale Foundation's offices are located at the Ma'alaea Harbor Shops, next to Maui Ocean Center, off Route 30 (Honoapi'ilani Highway). For those using a GPS or MapQuest, the mailing address is 300 Ma'alaea Road, Suite 211, Wailuku, HI 96793.

Whalewatch season begins at Pacific Whale Foundation starting on November 26. From that point until May 15, whale sightings are guaranteed on all Pacific Whale Foundation whalewatch cruises.

The Maui Whale Festival, which spans the weeks between November 26 and  May 15, features a paddle board and kayaking event, a golf tournament, a fun run, free lectures, a citizens’ count of whales, “World Whale Day” (formerly Whale Day) and dozens of other special cruises and events.

"Maui is the place of new beginnings for the next generation of whales," says Mayer. "Through fun and educational events, our Welcome Home the Whales Celebration and the Maui Whale Festival raise awareness about these cherished marine mammals.


"Our goal is to inspire the public to help protect the whales and the vital, unique whale habitat encompassed by the four islands of Maui County," says Mayer.

For information about any of the Welcome Home the Whales events, please call Pacific Whale Foundation at (808) 249-8811 ext. 1 or visit Pacific Whale Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1980, dedicated to protecting whales through science and advocacy. Pacific Whale Foundation offers whalewatch cruises and other ocean ecotours to educate the public about its marine research, education and conservation programs. To learn more, visit