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Wish you were here: Having a whale of a time

Photography by Baron Sekiya | Hawaii 24/7

The majority of humpback in the North Pacific migrate to the main Hawaiian islands each year between November through May.

The round-trip distance they travel during this annual migration from their feeding grounds in Alaskan waters is approximately 4,000 miles, one of the longest migration distances of any animal species. And, considering a humpback in the wild lives between 30 and 40 years, that’s a lot of commuting!

During their stay in Hawaii, they do not feed, but rely on energy stored in their blubber. Near the islands, the whales devote most of their time to mating and giving birth to calves.

A mature humpback whale measures about 45 feet in length and can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Their calves weigh around 3,000 pounds at birth and nourish off their mother’s high-fat milk for six to eight months, consuming 100 to 130 gallons per day.

Studies indicate whale-watching tours attract about 1 million passengers each year, contributing more than $80 million to the state’s coffers.

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The last Ocean Count day for the year is scheduled for March 27

A humpback whale shows off March 14, 2010 in Hilo Bay. (Photography special to Hawaii 24/7 by Brad Ballesteros)

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