Maui, Hawaiian Islands, USA


Each winter, humpback whales swim 2500 miles from their feeding grounds in Alaska all the way to the Hawaii Islands to breed and raise their young. In the warm protected waters off Maui, from around December and on into March-April, it's a gathering of whales like few places on earth.

These images were made spending more than 30 hours on the water observing and photographing humpbacks at all times of day. What I love about the whales is the mystery – so much remains unknown about their life and behavior. But one thing is for sure, here on the breeding grounds, it's a dance of grace and beauty punctuated by moments of power and aggression. Somehow it works. The North Pacific population is believed to have recovered to pre-whaling numbers exceeding 20,000 animals, a conservation success story.

And each year whale researchers and whale lovers also gather in Maui for the annual WHALE TALES event, organized by Whale Trust Maui to help raise money for ongoing research about the lives of these magnificent air-breathing marine mammals.

This year's presenters included Whale Trust co-founder andNational Geographic Photographer, Flip Nicklin, filmmakersHoward and Michele Hall and Jason Sturges, and a who's who in whale research and conservation including Jim Darling, Ed Lyman, Fred Sharpe, Robin Baird, and local photographers Marty Wolfe and Douglas Hoffman.

Don't miss the next Whale Tales event in February 2015.

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