‘Magic whale’ makes big splash

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Sierra Hampton-Eng, the Lihue Public Library Young Adults librarian, works with Kenzo Juravic and David Braman in rendering the life-like inflatable humpback whale that toured the library, Monday.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Kenzo Juravic, a member of the Lihue Public Library writing and drawing club, works on rendering the eye of the life-like inflatable humpback whale, Monday during a tour of the whale at the library.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Hihimanu Keahi, a third grade student from the Kawaikini Public Charter School, gets help from Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary volunteer Marga Goosen in identifying whales by its fluke markings, Monday while waiting to tour the life-like inflatable humpback whale at the Lihue Public Library.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    “It’s a magic whale,” said Lihue Public Library’s Childrens Librarian Victoria Lam, Monday as the life-like inflatable humpback whale fills the Children’s section at the Lihue Public Library.

  • Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island

    Jenavi Shanks, a first grade student from the Elsie Wilcox Elementary School, shows off her make-it-and-take-it humpback whale she created while waiting to tour the life-like inflatable humpback whale at the Lihue Public Library, Monday.

LIHUE — People who missed the experience of visiting the life-like inflatable humpback whale will have one final opportunity Wednesday, when the whale visits the Princeville Public Library from 4 to 6 p.m.

“This is the final chance for people to visit the whale,” said Jean Souza, Kauai programs coordinator for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. “The whale was here for the OceanFest program that opened over the weekend at the Kukui Grove Center. We had to measure the rooms to find out where it could fit at the Lihue Public Library.”

Victoria Lam, the Lihue Public Library Children’s Librarian, was thrilled to have the whale and its accompanying exhibit at the library, Monday afternoon.

“It’s a magic whale,” she said. “We put together our own material that supplements the exhibit and materials provided by Jean. We even have a make-it-and-take-it craft area where children are able to do something while waiting, and following the tour inside the whale, we have a take-home adventure packet.”

Lam’s excitement was overflowed to Sierra Hampton-Eng, the Young Adults librarian who had her writing and drawing club students rendering the whale on their sketchbooks.

“We have the whale,” she said. “This is a resource we don’t have every day so we’re taking advantage of the whale’s appearance.”

Originally, the whale was scheduled to appear until the government shutdown scrubbed the plans.

Once the shutdown was over, Souza worked her magic to get the whale shipped over for Kauai’s community to experience, starting with the three-day appearance at OceanFest.

“We are so excited to finally have the whale swim over to us,” Lam said. “This is a great learning opportunity for our community. We’ll have talks on whale migration, the dangers of marine debris, and how our whales stay alive. Originally, we were going to have classes from Wilcox School come and visit, but I guess we’ll have to wait until the next time.”

One of the visitors touring the whale was Jim Braman, the father of David Braman who worked in rendering the whale in his sketchbook.

“This is an amazing opportunity,” Jim said. “If it’s going to be in Princeville on Wednesday, we’ll make sure to promote it on our property so more people can experience this.”

Souza said the final appearance of the life-life inflatable whale will take place Wednesday at the Princeville Public Library before the whale is shipped back.

Lam said she is hopeful the whale will return in the summer for World Oceans Day.


Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.


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