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Maui Whale Fest freebies: spotting stations, guided hikes, talks with marine life experts


Spending some time on Maui this winter or spring? If so, you’ll be on-island during whale-watching season. While we cannot guarantee you’ll see leaping humpbacks every time you pick up binoculars, we’re sure Pacific Whale Foundation can help boost your whale-spotting counts. The Maui-based nonprofit is hosting a six-month series of events for its 2011-2012 Maui Whale Festival, which began last month and wraps up in mid-May. The list includes paid offerings, such as special cruises, and about a half dozen freebies. Here’s some freebie highlights.

Trail of the Whale: Whale Information Station

Starting this week, Pacific Whale Foundation naturalists and volunteers — equipped with binoculars and scopes — are stationed at three locations along Maui’s coast to help you locate whales from shores. In addition to sharing spotting techniques, they’re manning hands-on displays with models and marine artifacts, and answering visitor questions about whales, geography and natural history. The stations will be open through April 30, 2012. For more information, call (808) 879-2818 or click here.

Papawai Point — 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., daily. Scenic overlook off Honoapiilani Highway (Route 30), about three miles northwest of Maalaea Harbor.

Wailea Marriott —7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays. “Ocean Path,” in front of the Wailea Marriott, off Wailea Alanui Drive.

Maui Ocean Club — 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Wednesdays and Fridays. “Trail of the Whale” Marine Naturalist Station. The station is located along the oceanfront pedestrian path fronting the Marriot’s Maui Ocean Club resort on Kaanapali Beach.

An additional location to view whales is the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center, 726 S. Kihei Road, Kihei. Open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, sanctuary staff and volunteers provide free information about whales. Reservations not required.

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary also offers free information on sea turtles, coral reefs, fish and whales at the Grand Wailea Ocean Path, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays. In addition, the sanctuary will offer another free information site at the boardwalk at Whaler’s Village in Kaanapali on Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.


Whale-watching Hikes

Guided 5.5-mile morning hike along the Lahaina Pali Trail, which features spectacular views of the ocean and any whales in the area. Participants must be fit, experienced hikers and older than age 15. Hikes are scheduled for the following Wednesdays: Jan. 25, Feb. 22, March 28, and April 25.

Free transportation to the trail will be provided from Pacific Whale Foundation’s Ocean Store in Maalaea. Hikes will be led by a foundation naturalist. Advance reservations required. For more information, call (808) 249-8811 ext. 1 or click here.

Photo Tribute to the Whales

Whale photography exhibit hosted by Pacific Whale Foundation. Open daily, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., from Jan. 28 to Feb. 29, in Maalaea Harbor Shops, next door to Maui Ocean Center. For more information, call (808) 249-8811 or click here.

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Check out these related HawaiiMagazine.com posts:
The humpbacks are back! Our guide for Hawaii whale watching season
Great Maui Whale Festival starts month of events this weekend
Maui’s humpback whales
Pacific Whale Foundation's "Maui Whale Fest" salutes Hawaii’s 45-ton winter visitor

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