As autumn approaches, humpback whales start making their way to Hawaii. Though the humpback whale season doesn’t officially start until mid-December, a small population of these amazing creatures arrive earlier. Typically the first sighting is in October, though in 2012, one whale surprised everyone at the end of August.
Humpback whales spend the summer months feeding in the nutrient rich Alaskan waters. As winter approaches, they migrate approximately 3,500 miles to the warm, safe waters on Hawaii to give birth and breed. The journey takes approximately 6 to 8 weeks. So, it’s quite possible that the early arrivers are on their way right now.
We’re excited to announce our 5th annual contest to predict the first humpback whale sighting in Hawaii! This year’s winner will get The Ultimate Guide to Hawaiian Reef Fishes: Sea Turtles, Dolphins, Whales, and Seals by John P. Hoover — a comprehensive guide to Hawaii’s marine vertebrate animals.
To assist you with your prediction, here’s a list of the the most recent humpback sightings of the new season:
2006 – October 11
2007 – October 7
2008 – October 8
2009 – October 20
2010 – October 20
2011 — September 26
2012 — August 30
2013 — October 5
Here’s how the 2014 contest will work:
- Pick the earliest date you think the first whale sighting will be this year. Enter your prediction in the comments for this blog post. (Sorry Facebook friends, but only blog comments will be eligible. It’s easier for me to keep track of all the guesses in one spot here on the blog.)
- The closest prediction without going over will win a prize.
- You must use a valid email address so that I can contact you when/if your prediction is correct. Note that your email address will not be visible on the comment.
- In the event of a tie, I will randomly select a winner from the tied predictions.
- We’ll use Hawaii newspapers and news stations as our sources to determine when the first whale has been seen this season.
- One entry per person will be accepted.
- Anyone from around the world is eligible to enter. One year our winner was from Milano, Italy.
- Entries will be accepted through October 1, 2014. In the event that the first whale sighting is before October 1, 2014, valid entries will accepted through the day before the reported sighting.
When do you predict Hawaii will have this year’s first whale sighting? Enter your prediction in the comments!