POIPU — There were whales to be seen off the South Shore on Wednesday, but they were far out.
That did not deter people from stopping to chat with Bruce Parsil, a volunteer naturalist with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.
Parsil was on hand for the first free beach-based whale watch program at the southern end of the Poipu Beach Park.
About a dozen people gathered around Parsil, intent on learning what they could about the marine mammals. Another handful joined the group as they walked by the gathering at the Brennecke Beach end of the park.
“This is similar to the Brown Bags with Whales program we had a few years ago when people could bring their lunch to Ahukini and enjoy the meal while watching whales,” Parsil said. “People just have a lot of interest in whales.”
Because the sightings were in the distance, Parsil provided a general description and behaviors of the humpback whales, which visit Hawaiian waters during the winter months to calve.
For those who will be on the South Shore and want to watch whales with an experienced whale naturalist, HIHWNMS is sponsoring free watches on each Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, weather permitting, throughout the month of March, said Jean Souza, Kauai programs coordinator.
Souza said there will be video presentations on humpback whales as well as the Hawaiian monk seals on Saturday during the Ohana Day and Prince Kuhio celebration at the Kauai Museum.
The presentations will start at 2:30 p.m. Because it is Ohana Day, admission is free.