Maui Whale Festival: January 26 - March 30, 2013

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With abundant humpback whale sightings off Maui in recent weeks, the nonprofit Pacific Whale Foundation is looking ahead to a busy whale season, which includes hosting the annual Maui Whale Festival.

This year's festival begins in late January and continues through March -- the weeks that are considered "peak season" for those wishing to watch whales off Maui's shores. The Maui Whale Festival includes more than 15 signature events, plus free exhibits and talks, plus special "Trail of the Whale" locations where professional naturalists will offer free information and guidance on watching whales from shore.

"There's no place on earth like Maui for watching whales," says Greg Kaufman. "An estimated 12,000 or more humpback whales come to Hawaii each winter; their preferred habitat is the area just off Maui, bordered by the neighboring islands of Moloka'i, Lana'i and Kaho'olawe."

Pacific Whale Foundation organizes and hosts the Maui Whale Festival each year to focus public attention on the whales. This year's festival has the theme, "Be Whale Aware," a reminder by Pacific Whale Foundation that all boaters, ship captains and recreational ocean users need to be vigilant in keeping a lookout for whales and reducing vessel speeds to prevent vessel-whale collisions during this time of year. "We are fortunate to have a humpback whale population that's increasing at the rate of 7% per year," says Kaufman. "The result is that boaters need to be especially mindful of the whales as they navigate through Maui's nearshore ocean waters.

For more information, visit: mauiwhalefestival.org

Maui Whale Festival