Earlier this month we wrote about how 52-Hertz’s story had been gaining momentum in the media, catching the eye of actor Adrian Grenier (of Entourage fame.) Our Program Director, Amy Fonarow, has been keeping herself apprised on this story and wanted us to share with everyone that the film is now fully funded thanks to help from Leonardo DiCaprio! A true philanthropist and animal lover, DiCaprio contributed $50,000 of his own money to help fund the film.

With funding having been reached, the nearly 4,000 backers who contributed to the Kickstarter project will receive all of their promised gifts which include posters and even a signed backing of a director’s chair from the upcoming Entourage movie. Meanwhile, Grenier and his friends can begin to film and search for 52! They will put together a team, and using tracking equipment will not only search for 52-Hertz and bring awareness to his story, but also study the effects of noise pollution on the ocean. It is believed that noise pollution created by humans has contributed to whale deafness and even beaching.

Here at Hawaii Ocean Project, we couldn’t be happier that 52’s story has reached the mainstream media and that Grenier reached his funding goal. The protection of marine mammals is something that we’re very passionate about. In fact our mission  is, “To support marine research and to educate visitors and residents about Hawaii’s marine ecosystem while delivering unique ocean excursions.” Although 52 isn’t a “resident” of Hawaii, we hope that this attention to his story will help science find a way to ease his loneliness and help him to find a friend, while alerting people to the effect we have on the ocean.

Although Grenier’s film received full funding, there are so many cetaceans that still need assistance. 100% of funds we receive from memberships, tours, and donations are given to peer-reviewed researchers, with our most recent donation recipient being Whale Trust. We’re still in whale watching season, which runs through May, so if you’re interested in seeing whales and also supporting legitimate research, look no further than the Hawaii Ocean Project Whale Watch Tour that departs from beautiful Lahaina, Maui.  We know you’ll have a whale of a time!

Whether this is your first visit to the Hawaiian Islands or you call Hawaii home, Molokai is a place that needs to be on your bucket list of places to visit; its lush and unspoiled beauty hearken back to the days of old Hawaii. Nicknamed the “The Friendly Isle”, you will feel at home in the verdant oasis while you are greeted with aloha by the locals.

Because we proudly operate the only interisland ferry that runs between Maui and Molokai, we are in the unique position to be able to offer fun day adventure tour packages! We can’t think of a better way to take Molokai off your travel bucket list. We offer two different tour packages to suit your needs – The Alii Tour Package and the Cruise and Drive Package.

The Alii Tour Package will see you explore beautiful Molokai with a knowledgeable local tour guide. You will travel by air conditioned bus to see important historic sites, such as Father Damien’s church. This package includes a continental breakfast, lunch at a local restaurant in Kaunakakai town, and round trip tickets on our interisland ferry.

Our Cruise and Drive package is very straightforward. Book with us and we provide you with round trip tickets on the Molokai ferry, assist in booking your rental vehicle, and provide a map to start you off on your adventure!

Book online using our website and you will receive our moderately lower Internet only rates. Additionally, we are currently in whale watching season which runs through May and although we can’t guarantee it, you might definitely see some whales while aboard our beautiful interisland yacht, the Molokai Princess.

And don’t forget – whether you book a Molokai Adventure, or any of our other tours, we would love to hear from you on social media if you have anything fun and noteworthy to share! Join the conversation with us on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.

Imagine living your life trying to find someone who speaks your language but for decades finding no one to communicate with; this is the life that 52-Hertz lives. 52-Hertz, named for the unconventional frequency of his voice, has spent his life thus far calling out to other whales with the hope of receiving a reply, but his calls continue to go unanswered. It is thought that he is a cross between a blue whale and a fin whale, causing his call to be at a higher frequency than other whales leaving them unable to understand him.

52’s story has been gaining traction on the internet for years, and it was our very own Program Director, Amy Fonarow, that brought this story to our attention so that we could share it with you! The most recent news regarding 52 is that his story caught the eye of well known actor Adrien Grenier. Grenier is teaming up with friends from the film industry in an effort to bring 52’s story to the big screen, which they are trying to bring to fruition by using popular crowdfunding website Kickstarter. While the film will focus on the science of 52’s loneliness, the director of the film, Josh Zeman, expects that people will relate to 52 on a more basic level; the empathy of a shared existential crisis – dying alone.

We hope that his story will continue to spread until such a time that his voice is heard. Mahalo to everyone who took the time to read this – we hope 52’s story touched your heart as much as it did ours.

It was just about a week ago that we blogged about our charitable contribution to Whale Tales 2015, and of our excitement to have been involved with such a fantastic cause. It seems like our friends at the Maui Time and Lahaina News took notice of our efforts to raise funds for legitimate research, because they wrote two wonderful articles about us. We were as excited to see it as we are to share it here, because it is assisting us in spreading awareness of our passion – supporting legitimate, peer-reviewed research on the study of cetaceans and the marine ecosystem.

As mentioned in both articles we were able to present researchers with a $6,000 check – money that was generated throughout the previous whale watching season. Since our inception, we have contributed in excess of $80,000 to researchers who scientifically investigate marine life. We’d like to extend a big mahalo, or thank you, to everyone who has supported us over the years, and with gratitude look forward to being able to continue to contribute to legitimate research with your help in the years to come.

(From left to right, receiving $6,000 to further their research): whale researcher and author Dr. Jim Darling, underwater videographer Jason Sturgis, whale researcher and Whale Trust Executive Director Dr. Meagan Jones-Gray, and Hawaii Ocean Project Program Coordinator Amy Fonarow.
Photo provided by Amy Fonarow

If you are interested in supporting our cause then you’ll be glad to know that there are so many ways you can help; whether you’re booking a whale watch, becoming a member, or making a direct donation, you’re contributing to the continued support of marine research. We appreciate your support, and want you to know that our researchers do too.

An entangled humpback was first spotted on February 13th near the Big Island trailing hundreds of feet of heavy gauge line – some that was partially embedded in its tail. Due to inclement weather and other extenuating circumstances, no immediate response could be made. Fortunately, The West Hawaii Marine Mammal Response Network was able to tag the whale and track its location until a rescue attempt could be made.

It wasn’t until February 20th that a response team tracked the whale to the leeward side of Maui, and launched their rescue attempt out of Maalaea Harbor just before 8:00am. Using techniques rarely seen since the heyday of whaling, the team used an inflatable boat to get near the whale and attached buoys in an attempt to prevent it from diving. The 8-hour operation saw the humpback freed of nearly all the line, with the exception of about six feet which scientists expect will be expelled over time and its wounds to heal. Prior to releasing it, tissue samples were taken to ascertain its health which was found to be in fair to moderate condition.

Whale entanglements are growing increasingly more common; averaging at least one death a year, while it’s estimated that about 75% of whales bear scars from it. We’re so grateful that this humpback had a happy ending and will live to return to beautiful Hawaiian waters on many more occasions. If you see an entangled whale or distressed marine mammal call NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) at (888) 256-9840, and please do not approach it on your own as it can be dangerous not only for yourself, but for the animal as well.

Here at Hawaii Ocean Project we are extremely respectful of the ocean and all of the amazing animals that live in it. With only three months left in whale watching season, we’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that we offer an early bird special whale watch tour at the extremely affordable cost of $19.21 for adults and $17.07 for children. You never know – we may see our friend, the freed humpback!