‘The whales need our help’

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    Merri Murphy reaches out in celebration after playing a song at the welcome the whales celebration at Kealia near the fire station Saturday afternoon.

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    Tanya Kwan expresses her feelings during the welcome the whales celebration Saturday near Kealia Beach Park.

Eighteen months ago, Kiah Abendroth moved to Kauai.

Saturday, joined by three others in an impromptu performance, she played her trumpet — for the whales.

“It was beautiful to offer a prayer for them,” she said. “It was beautiful to collaborate and have everyone be heard.”

About 75 people turned up at a scenic overlook off Kuhio Highway near Kealia Beach Park for a welcome the whales celebration organized by Kohola Leo.

Music, stories and embraces were shared at the 90-minute event on a blue-skied, cool evening with a calm ocean as the backdrop. Some even danced.

Merri Murphy played the drums as she joined Abendroth in the annual event to greet the humpback whales. The marine mammals leave their feeding grounds in Alaska in late fall and early winter for breeding in warmer southern waters of Hawaii, Mexico and southern Japan.

She wanted to be there, she said, because the whales are “magnificent” and part of the Earth and the ocean.

“And we’re screwing up their territory,” she said. “Let’s bless them all we can.”

Kelly Kelsey of Kilauea recently went to Tonga to swim with humpback whales.

“It was so remarkable to be out in the depths with these mammas and these babies, to slip into the water and feel like a grain of sand,” she said.

Whales, she said, share their being, their songs, with wisdom, with people.

“It’s so amazing to think about whales, these giant creatures that are completely held,” she said. “Their whole lives, they are held.”

Omashar sang a song he wrote, “I Am,” from his album, “Illuminate,” that reflects his views that there is a strong connection between people and the world all around them.

“What you do affects me. What we do affects them,” he said of whales. “It doesn’t take long for me to do something that affects my neighbor.”

Not everyone sang a song.

Scott Lever, a volunteer with Kauai Surfrider, talked of the Wednesday afternoon patrols to remove lost and discarded nets in the ocean that threaten marine life.

“It’s hard, it’s dirty. We work our tails off, but it feels great,” he said.

Lever encouraged more people to join them.

“It’s a really great effort. It’s a lot of fun and, honestly, we’re getting a bunch of that stuff out of the ocean,” he said.

Since 2015 there has been an uptick in research on the migration patterns of the humpback whales as well as research on their songs and other patterns — one of the reasons for that is there have been fewer sightings of the animals in recent years.

Each year there are three whale-counting events — one each in January, February and March — where volunteers work with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

Scientists are documenting the number of mother/calf pairs seen in the Hawaiian Islands and are studying whale songs, ocean noise, marine debris and other factors to determine causes for the decline in mother and calf pairs by about 80 percent between 2014 and 2018.

But Saturday, it was all about love for the whales.

Shawn Simmons and Tanya Kwan of Australia mesmerized the crowd with their performances of music and chant. “You know the whales are there. The whales need our help,” Simmons said.

Robert Gluckson urged people to realize they can make a difference in the world around them, “right now and in every moment.”

The keys, he said, are sharing love and appreciation at every turn.

“There’s nothing more important,” he said.

“I invite us all to share as much as we can of this love and compassion and appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us,” he said.

Abendroth said Kauai, and the ocean, are filled with beauty. The whales are part of that beauty.

“It’s a really special place. I feel really good to be here,” she said. “Even one day is a blessing.”

  1. Objectivity January 13, 2019 5:21 am Reply

    Let me get this straight .. we love whales and want to protect them, so we go to Tonga where we are allowed to swim with them without the rules and regulations we have in place here in the USA to protect them from human harrassment?

    That’s rich.

  2. Charlie Chimknee January 13, 2019 6:20 am Reply

    Aloha Kakou,

    While it’s nice to see people concerned over the whales and their health and survival as a specie, let’s be clear of 1 thing…WHALES DO NOT NEED OUR HELP…as a specie inhabiting our planet hugely longer than mankind, what whalekind do need is NO INTERFERENCE FROM THE HUMANS…! ! !

    Whether it be…marine debris, toxic chemical pollution in their liquid environment and their food, and even the air they breathe, and whatever other human interferences they have to contend with, any threats to their existence is from manmade various pollutions in disobeyance of Mother Nature.

    The same things that are threatening whalekind are also threatening humankind., and all kind.

    The underlying ongoing and accumulative flaw in human progress is destructive and disruptive science, industry, and technology and its quest for massive profits for the few at the top. Liars of science, industry, and technology telling us that their methods and inventions are safe when they are horrific for whalekind and human kind, and all kind.

    Yet who can solve this speeding unnatural missile hell bent on self destruction? No one person, political party, country, religious affiliation, or the planet human inhabitants as a whole seems to have a handle on restoring our planet back to its sustainable old self.

    How long do all the species have to live before we collectively “choke” to death.

    Sadly some don’t care; more sadly not enough do…!

    Our planet was on automatic pilot of sustainability when Mother Nature was managing all things; but now human egos and greed, and pseudo science and irresponsible technology are taking her place.

    Sadly some don’t care, more sadly not enough do…!



  3. sheeples January 13, 2019 7:02 am Reply

    It might be prudent to check about all the rafts heading up the napali harassing the whales and other sealife. I count an average of 30 going by on most non advisory days. The whales might benefit from this more than a land based trumpeting

  4. Ken Conklin January 13, 2019 7:21 am Reply

    It’s wonderful to know that a whole new generation of newcomer hippies are still coming to Kaua’i, standing at the shoreline and playing music for the whales to hear as the best way we humans can help them.

  5. Sue January 13, 2019 11:13 am Reply

    How is singing to the whales going to help them? Just curious.

    And why is it that it’s always these hippy white women doing this? Just curious.

  6. numilalocal January 13, 2019 11:59 am Reply

    I love it. Transplants doing their usual thing.

  7. MisterM January 13, 2019 12:57 pm Reply

    “Kelly Kelsey of Kilauea recently went to Tonga to swim with humpback whales.”

    So how did dear Kelly get to Tonga? By canoe? Or did she fly using a plane burning tons of jet fuel?

    Just a bunch of poseurs.

  8. harry oyama January 13, 2019 3:18 pm Reply

    Whales do play a significant role in the life cycle of marine life in the oceans that also have a side benefit of reducing carbon in the form of large mammal excreting that is fed to upper layer microrganism which in turn are eaten by smaller fishes, in then eaten by larger fishes.

    The accumulated animal masses from this cycle stores many thousands of tons of carbon that later sink to the bottom of the ocean which serve as food for bottom dwelling animals.

    However this group that sings and prays to whales appear to have a few marbles missing, cleaning up the fishing nets are fine but to join in their type of celebration is like those hippies at Haena looking for magic mushrooms in the cow pastures and encouraging those cows to dump a load so they can have a fresh new batch this next morning for some special pizza delight.

  9. Buzzy January 14, 2019 8:14 pm Reply

    Aloha also means GOODBYE!

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