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.”