Great Whale Count

The annual Great Whale Count brings volunteers together to count whales from shore as part of a long-term survey of humpback whales in Hawai‘i. This event provides a snapshot of trends in relative abundance of whales and is one of the world’s longest-running citizen scientist projects. 

Participants occupy one of 12 survey sites along Maui’s shoreline after receiving a brief morning training from a site leader. The ensuing half-day is spent counting whales and observing behaviors during timed scans. Site leaders record data from volunteers throughout the event. Our research team tallies the results from all the sites and releases the numbers immediately following the count. Not only do participants enjoy knowing they’re contributing to important research, but it’s also an opportunity to spend time at a favorite spot or explore new parts of the island. 

The Great Whale Count takes place during our annual Maui Whale Festival. Please be sure to join us for our 2021 Great Whale Count/Sanctuary Ocean Count, scheduled for the following Saturdays: January 30, 2021, February 27, 2021 and March 27, 2021. Online registration for 2021 events begins December 15, 2020, and you must create an account on MyVolunteerPage to register for this event.

A huge thank you to all who participated in making our 2020 Great Whale Count a GREAT success. In light of current social distancing restrictions, we cancelled the originally scheduled March 2020 event 

Buy a Great Whale Count t-shirt today!

Previous Great Whale Counts

· 2019 Great Whale Count Summary
· 2018 Great Whale Count Summary
· 2017 Great Whale Count Summary
· 2016 Great Whale Count Summary
· 2015 Great Whale Count Summary
· 2014 Great Whale Count Summary
· 2013 Great Whale Count Summary
· 2012 Great Whale Count Summary
· 2011 Great Whale Count Summary
· 2010 Great Whale Count Summary
· 2009 Great Whale Count Summary
· 1995-2013 Great Whale Count Summary


Our thoughts go out to all that are being impacted by COVID-19. With a team dedicated to our response to this pandemic, we are meeting regularly to ensure the continuation of programs and services that allow our mission work to continue.

Pacific Whale Foundation’s leadership team is closely monitoring updates from the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization regarding COVID-19. We will continue to seek guidance from these agencies, public health officials and government agencies on an ongoing basis.

We are happy to now offer three new kama‘aina-rate private charters: Molokini Wild Side, Honolua Bay Snorkel, and Sunset Sail.

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