The oceanfront deck at the revamped marine sanctuary headquarters, which sits just north of the ancient Koʻieʻie Fishpond, is an ideal spot for viewing the humpback whales that frequent the bay during winter. Free scopes are set up for viewing. Inside, displays and videos provide background, and there are lots of informative brochures about whales and other Hawaiian wildlife. Swing by at 11am on Tuesday or Thursday for the free ‘45-Ton Talks’ about whales.
Congress created the marine sanctuary in 1992 with a mission to protect humpback whales and their habitat. Its efforts have been a success – a majority of humpback whale populations were removed from the endangered species list in September 2016. A moratorium on whaling remains in place, however. The sanctuary extends from the shoreline to ocean depths of 600ft in the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Islands.