HONOLULU (KHON2) — Whale watching is a humbling experience. Being able to witness the secret lives of the whales who call Hawai’i home during the winter months is something that few people in the world get to witness.

Sanctuary Ocean Count has announced that it is looking for volunteers to help count the humpback whales who are migrating to Hawai’i’s waters for the winter months.

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Opportunities to volunteer are on Jan. 28, Feb. 25 and March 25. You will need to register online in advance to participate; registration goes live today, Jan. 9.

  • A volunteer watches for a humpback whale to surface in Honolulu, Hawai'i. (Photo/Paul Halsey via NOAA)
  • A humpback whale is seen coming to the surface in the Pacific Ocean near Honolulu, Hawai'i. (Photo/Paul Halsey)
  • A volunteer records what they've seen after viewing humpback whale surface in Honolulu, Hawai'i. (Photo/Paul Halsey via NOAA)
  • Volunteers watch for a humpback whale to surface in Honolulu, Hawai'i. (Photo/Paul Halsey via NOAA)
  • Volunteers watch for a humpback whale to surface in Honolulu, (Photo/Paul Halsey via NOAA)
  • A humpback whale is seen coming to the surface in the Pacific Ocean near Honolulu, Hawai'i. (Photo/Paul Halsey via NOAA)
  • Volunteers watch for a humpback whale to surface in Honolulu, Hawai'i. (Photo/Paul Halsey via NOAA)

SOC has overseen whale counts since 1996. It has been a way of promoting public awareness on humpback whales, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary and shore-based whale watching opportunities.

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Volunteers will tally humpback whale sightings and document their surface behavior. This allows researchers a snapshot into whale activities safely from the shorelines of O‘ahu, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i Island.