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A Weekend of Whales

Experts share discoveries.

February 2, 2012
The Maui Weekly

As part of the Maui Whale Festival, a group of noted researchers, scientists, marine experts and photographers from across the U.S. will share their work and their latest discoveries about whales and the ocean during "Weekend with the Experts"-a three-day event, Friday through Sunday, Feb. 10 to 12.

Hosted by Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF) with support from Expedia Local Expert, "Weekend with the Experts" includes two exciting evenings of free talks, slideshows and video presentations, as well as special daytime whale watch cruises led by the experts.

The weekend begins on Friday with multimedia presentations. "Swimming In Trash: Marine Debris and Its Effect on Whales" is scheduled from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Westin Maui Resort & Spa in Ka'anapali.

The free presentations will include scientific updates on the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" and the tsunami debris heading for Hawai'i. They will also include information on the impacts of marine debris on marine mammals and why Hawai'i's underwater world is so unique-and so worthy of protection.

On Saturday from 5:30 to 8 p.m., PWF will present more, free multimedia presentations at the Westin. "In the Presence of Giants" will include the latest discoveries about whale social sounds and communication, the impacts of manmade noise on whales, information on what science has revealed about the impacts of whale watching-on humans and whales-and results from an ongoing research study to prevent vessel-whale collisions in Maui County. There will also be a photo presentation showcasing dramatic underwater and above-water photos of humpback whales in the South Pacific.

Reservations for the talks are not required, but are suggested. Call PWF at (808) 249-8811, ext. 1, for reservations.

Saturday and Sunday will offer opportunities to whale watch with the experts and presenters from the evening presentations. The whale watches will depart from Lahaina. Reservations are required. Visit or call (808) 249-8811, ext. 1.

The Maui Whale Festival is a six-month series of events honoring the humpback whales that come to Maui each winter to mate, give birth and care for the next generation of whales. The festival is presented by PWF with support from Expedia Local Expert. To learn more, visit


Weekend with the Experts

Friday, Feb. 10 Bill Francis is president of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization that has made research voyages to all five of the world's major gyres, including the North Pacific Gyre, resulting in a body of authoritative research publications and data and educational programs about marine debris.

Dr. Jan Haffner (replacing Nikolai Maximenko), who represents the International Pacific Research Center, School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, University of Hawai'i, will present information on tracking Japanese tsunami debris and the survey expedition that took place last winter.

Ed Lyman, marine mammal response manager at the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, coordinates NOAA Fisheries' Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Programs, and works with a network of responders in an attempt to free large whales from life-threatening entanglements.

David Fleetham is a marine wildlife photographer whose photographs have been published around the globe. With over 100 magazine covers to date, his award-winning work has been published by "National Geographic," The Cousteau Society and every North American diving publication.


Saturday, Feb. 11 Dr. Carole Carlson has spent over 30 years studying large cetaceans and is an acknowledged expert on photo-identification techniques, humpback whales and whale watching. She has organized and conducted five international whale watching workshops and assisted in the development of international whale watch guidelines.

Dr. Alison Stimpert will speak on the rich behavioral and acoustic repertoire of humpback whales based on her studies of bioacoustics and her ongoing investigations into the impact of anthropogenic sound on the social behavior and foraging ecology of cetaceans.

Dr. Daniela Maldini, chief scientist at Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF), leads several research studies, including PWF's work to prevent vessel-whale collisions in Hawai'i by analyzing humpback whale surprise encounters and vessel near-misses.

Douglas Hoffman is wellknown for his fine art photographs of humpback whales. His goal is to create compelling images of nature that reflect beauty and drama in order to evoke an emotional response and raise awareness.


Submit event press releases to editor@maui Type "blue column" in the subject line.



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