Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!!! (The buoy is doing better)

Well, a lot of people are wondering why the buoy isnʻt webcasting this yearʻs whale songs yet. She was working and looking great a week and a half ago. Well, the ocean has taken a toll on some of the electronics and things that were working became intermittent or quit working as we tested. The testing is important because itʻs really hard to fix things out in the ocean, and itʻs not easy to bring her in. We have been giving her a lot of TLC, and we are grateful for the launch crew who has been standing by faithfully. We wanted her in the water by Christmas. We worked some late nights through the holidays, and I got a cold...and that is slowing the launch date right now. Pictured in this post are Shelly Stevens, our anchorwoman, with the line that will tether the buoy, me testing the electronics, the audio section of the buoy being repaired on my kitchen table on Christmas day, Pualani Cabral and Samual David with the buoy, parts, etc.

Expect her to be working very early in the New Year. And please take good care of your precious selves and our precious planet. Aloha, Dan

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays! (The buoy is almost ready)

We have been working through the holidays to get Hōkūmoanalani back in the ocean.  We had some unexpected issues with the audio and radio components of the system.  As of last night, I think all issues are resolved except putting it all back together.  I am trying to restrain myself from working too much on Christmas day, but some progress is being made.  I hope we will have her back in the ocean as early as this weekend, after a little more testing.  It's tough to service her in the ocean, so we hope to have everything working well enough to last the whole season.

Thanks to every one who has helped refurbish her.  She's looking good!  Pictured here are Pualani Trisha Cabral, who has put major time into the project this year, and Shawn Ardoin, our artist.  Shawn has added a playful touch to Hōkūmoanalani this year.  Shawn's art is featured in galleries in Hana and Paia, Maui, Honolulu, and Tahiti.  Thank you Trisha and Shawn, and special thanks to Samuel David, who did a lot of heavy lifting, electrical wiring and painting this year, and is pictured in my last post.  Samuel's CD of whale music is just being released.  He and his partner Amber are donating some money from each CD sold to The Whalesong Project. 

Much aloha to all of our friends out there,


Friday, November 14, 2008

Entering a New Season

We are entering a new whale season, and optimistic that our new President and Congress will move America in a direction that is healthier for America and the World.  In recognition of the fact that what happens on land affects the health of the oceans, we are working on some initiatives related to clean energy and sustainability we will share with you as this season progresses.

You can see from these photos that we are on the move and working on getting Hōkūmoanalani back in the ocean.  Samuel David (blue shirt) and Gerhardt (in blue jeans, a visiting volunteer from Germany) opened her up for inspection.  Sheʻs looking good inside, and Samuel has given her a first coat of paint.  I put a microphone in the ocean yesterday and heard a lone distant whale singing.

We are saddened by news of the Supreme Court decision on Navy sonar use, which we feel is unbalanced.  I want to repeat that we at The Whalesong Project believe that national security is important, AND that national security depends on a healthy environment and healthy relations with other nations on the planet we share.  We feel more emphasis should be placed on international cooperation to protect the environment and to reduce the need to use dangerous technologies that are harmful to the whales and other sea life.  I met recently with Senator Daniel Inouye, and again expressed to him these concerns, and reminded him of the need to fully investigate whether sonar use is related to the recent whale strandings in Hawaiʻi.

We are grateful to be here, amazingly, for our ninth season of bringing the live songs of Mauiʻs Kohola (humpback whales) to the world.  Thanks to all of you who help make this possible with your contributions of money, time, wisdom.

These photos were taken by Anna Kim.  Thanks Anna!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sonar Issue goes to the Supreme Court

This Wednesday the Supreme Court will hear presentations from the U.S. Navy and NRDC over the Navyʻs use of sonar off of Southern California. It is an issue that involves national security and the health of cetaceans and the ocean itself. Read more here.

Markus and Silke, of Whalesong Germany, have been visiting California. We were able to spend some precious time together. They are really wonderful friends, and care deeply about the worldʻs oceans and the future of the planet for our children. They have redesigned the website for this season, and it looks really good. Stay tuned to see improvenments as the season progresses. I am attaching a picture of Markus, Silke and their beautiful son Samuel.

The first whale of the season has been spotted off of Molokini. We will be working diligently to get the buoy back in the water as early as possible this year. Thanks to all of you who help to make this all work.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Science Journal reports ocean dead zones growing

Our friend and Whalesong Project contributor, Katie Grove-Velasquez, just sent a report from Underwater Times with a summary of an August 15 Science journal article about the growing ocean dead zones, which are referred to as the "key stressor on marine ecosystems."  Once again we see, as the ancient Hawaiians and other cultures did, that the things we do on land are reflected in the health of the oceans.  We seem to need to make a lifestyle change towards sustainable agriculture, transportation, energy production fairly rapidly.  From Hong Kong,  I wish you all a good day.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Queen of Thailand advocates environmental protection

Here in Thailand, I am grateful to see positive action to protect the environment.  The main plaza downtown is showcasing environmental issues and solutions in a large photographic story board that covers almost two blocks.  A group called "Green World" paraded through town yesterday encouraging people to protect the environment.  The Queen Mother of Thailand, on her birthday,  encouraged people to "love each other and take care of the environment."  Read more.  She is especially concerned about "water and the forests."  The ocean has been the focus of The Whalesong Project, but we know that what people do on land affects life in the ocean, and it's good to see people caring.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Perspectives from 30,000 feet

I'm writing from the upper deck of a jumbo jet overlooking vast ocean as I write.  It's a different perspective on the world from up here.  I am heading to Asia to work on a couple of projects.

It was hard to leave's always hard to leave my home there....but particularly hard to leave while the mystery of the whale who died recently on Molokai is unfolding.    An article in yesterday's Maui News describes the incident.  I'm not confident that the cause will be fully investigated in an impartial way.

I don't want to harp on the bad news too much.  Here's some good news:  Japan, where I am heading, is making major commitments to creating green belts, to solar and wind technologies for generating electricity.  China, where I will be soon, is investing in electric cars and wind energy systems.  I picked up a Forbes Magazine at the airport and most of the issue is dedicated to green technologies from electric cars to solar panels.  The Wall Street Journal says that some of the major obstacles to fuel cell technologies are being addressed successfully.  Maybe we can turn things around if good news keeps coming in like this.

The view of America, as seen by the rest of the world, is a bit disturbing.  With Guantanamo Bay, lack of action on global warming, etc., they seem to think we have lost our way.   One whale lost its way last week and I hope we can find out if it is a result of our human actions.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Whale stranding on Molokai - Navy sonar related?

A rare deep water beaked whale showed up on the island of Molokai during annual Navy RIMPAC exercises. A UPI story says the 2,500 lb. Cuvier's beaked whale was euthanized after repeatedly beaching itself. A press release from Earthjustice describes the incident and some background information. A fresh press release from Earthjustice, not yet published on their website, quotes Colin Crosby of Kihei, Maui, as saying that he and friends heard sonar in the water on Molokai the day before the stranding, at levels high enough that it could be heard out of the water.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Ocean News, and System Status Report

We have brought Hokumoanalani, our buoy, back to shore for repairs and restoration.  She will be a part time project for the next several months as we prepare for our ninth season of webcasting the live songs of our Kohola, Hawaiian Humpback Whales.  

University of Hawai'i Researchers have discovered some "uncomfortable information."  They published findings in the July 4 issue of Science Magazine, warning that "...besides loading the atmosphere with heat-trapping greenhouse gases, human emissions of carbon dioxide have also begun to alter the chemistry of the ocean -- the so-called cradle of life on Earth."   The impacts could be significant.  Read the full article.

Here's hoping you are all reducing your carbon footprint, taking care of your local environment, and enjoying the season wherever you are.

Aloha from Maui,  Dan

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Acknowledging the end of a season

I just switched the webcast over to an archived recording from earlier this season.  It's been almost two weeks since I heard the last song of a lone whale out there.  Most have headed north.  There are still occasional sightings.  

In the interest of preserving our equipment for next season, I am removing the webcasting computer from the hot, dusty alcove where it has served us well this season.  Next the buoy will come out of the ocean for maintenance, repairs and upgrades.  We will be bringing a webcam online as soon as time permits, so we will be ready with it for next season. 

Thank you to everyone who made this season possible.  There were some great songs again this season, and some good adventure.  We enjoyed meeting all of you who showed up to participate and visit us during this beautiful season.  Take good care.  Aloha to all.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Whales still singing

We can still hear whales singing in the distance here.  I want to thank everyone who made this season possible for our project - those of you who volunteered at events, helped paint and repair the buoy, those of you who donated money.  As we wish aloha to the whales on their departure to northern waters, we are already planning for next season.  We plan website improvements, more class room interactions, a webcam to view the buoy and whales.  We also plan to be in the water earlier next season.  It's a lot of work, but it is a labor of love by a group of people who care about the oceans and want to do something to raise awareness about their importance.  Thank you for supporting us!  

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What is Hawaiiana, pono, aloha?

Our dear friend and Whalesong Project co-founder, Nona Beamer, continues to be close to our hearts and thoughts here in Hawai'i and beyond.  For those of you that didn't get a chance to meet Nona, I highly recommend this video, posted on youtube, from a Hawai'i Public TV interview recently.  It really shows the woman we love and cherish, and the wisdom that she shared with the world.

Thanks for listening.

What does the whale song mean?

I get this question all of the time and for some reason people think I might know the answer, just because I've listened for so long. Being basically distrustful of "experts" myself, I have a hesitancy to assume that role myself....especially given the mystery that surrounds the whales and their singing. Research scientists who have spent much more time than I studying whales don't have answers to the questions people ask me at events like Earth Day last weekend.

Psychologists like Dr. Arlette Alexander, who volunteers with The Whalesong Project, point out the tendency of humans to "project" their own conditioned view of the world, childhood family dynamics, etc. - onto the whales or anything else in their lives. She says if someone had a dysfunctional family relationship, for instance, they might think the whales sound like they are arguing. How can we step back from our own stress, trauma, conditioning, and listen to the song? There's a challenge in itself.

Scientists also warn us of the human tendency towards anthropomorphism. The dictionary says this is the "attribution of human motivation, characteristics, or behavior to inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena." Dangerous territory indeed.

Some cultural and spiritual practitioners tell us that the whale songs are vibrational, intended to create healing energy for the planet. Are they projecting, or is there truth to this?

To me, it's all fun and interesting to think about. And in the spirit of playful speculation, I present a human interpreted, possibly (probably) anthropomorphised, translation of one verse of this year's song:

How long?
How long?
Must we sing this song?
Before the humans can hear?
That there's truth to the notion
That we must have healthy oceans
Or life on land could disappear
Yes, life on land could disappear

As reports continue to come in of glacial melting, rising CO2 levels in the atmoshpere, ocean pollution issues, air quality diminishing to dangerous levels in some parts of the world, lack of political will to address these problems - I ponder my song. Am I projecting my own fears? Or do we really need to do something rapidly to have a harmonious, healthy family here on the planet - for us and future for future generations? Can we preserve the beauty of this planet that has abundant potential and resources for us to enjoy, if we take care of her? These questions are almost as large for me as "what does the whale song mean?"

Aloha kakou,


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Whale songs are live again - the buoy is working

There are still a few whales singing out there, and when they are singing it's a little easier to hear the nuances of each compared to when there are hundreds of whales singing at once.  I want to welcome my family who is arriving this coming week from the mainland and Australia. My mother, June Sythe, is a board member of The Whalesong Project, and my family, including Australian cousins, are contributors and co-creators of this project.  Thank you, family, for the support these past eight years!  The happy occasion will be the marriage of my niece, Elena, to Shep, a bright and wonderful Maui Boy.  We are wishing them great happiness.

Mahalo again to Robert Bonifacio for assisting in the repair mission.  

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

More on Nona Beamer

As mentioned in an earlier post, our founding board member and my close personal friend and mentor, Nona Kapuailohiamanonokalani Beamer, passed to another realm this last Thursday. For the seemingly thousands of friends and students and admirers of her, all across the planet, this is a time of grief...and a time of remembering the beautiful radiant woman that she was, who lived aloha daily throughout her life. Her son, Keola, has posted a beautiful update about Nona on his website at Nona's daughter Maile has posted an update on her website for The Hula Preservation Society.  When you access the Hula Preservation Website you will hear an 'oli, a Hawaiian chant, done by "Aunty Nona."  The Hula Preservation Society is a project created by Nona and Maile, and a project deserving support from the public.  Maile continues to serve on our board of directors, and I look forward to working with Maile, Keola, Moana and their  'ohana to embody Nona's caring and devotion to Hawaiiana and aloha in the work of our organization. Aloha from all of us at The Whalesong Project to Keola and to Maile, and the entire Beamer 'ohana, and all of Nona's relations.

Aloha kakou, Ka'ili

Monday, April 14, 2008

Aloha 'aina - as above so below

Aloha 'aina is an ancient Hawaiian value - the love of the 'aina, the land, the sea, everything around us that sustains and nourishes us. Practicing aloha 'aina means recognizing its intrinsic value and taking care of it. It goes deeper than that actually - Hawaiians felt that the 'aina has sacred qualities beyond just the practical value of the food it provides.

Captain Cook, upon visiting Hawai'i, called the Hawaiians the "worlds greatest ecologists." The ahapua'a system of ancient Hawai'i recognized the connection between what happens on the land, from the top of the highest mountain, and the reef and ocean world below. There were strict rules, kapu, to protect the entire ecosystem. Taro, kalo, the main staple of the Hawaiian diet, was grown in wet shallow ponds, lo'i, fed by mountain streams. These lo'i kalo also created a percolation effect that replenished the delicate aquifer that provides sustainable fresh water. They also filtered the water and created nourishment that created a healthy environment in the ocean reef ecosystem. Careful observation of nature over time allowed refinement of this system. Watch Calvin Hoe speak about this beautiful system of caring for the land while nourishing people.

Things are out of balance today, and we as a world society are not paying careful attention to what we do above or below the ocean. This CNN video shows how this is affecting the world's oceans, and in turn affecting our physical health and well being as human beings.

Getting back to Hawaiian values, it is pretty clear to me that there is tremendous wisdom that could be applied to making life on this planet not only livable and sustainable, but practicing aloha 'aina. But are we listening? Or are Hawaiian voices like the voices of the whales and natural world, difficult to hear above the roar of modern civilization and progress? One would think that their voices would be heard here in Hawai'i.

An article in Sunday's Maui News, Crying for Water, highlights the plight of East Maui's kalo farmers. Their water has been taken away to support sugar cane farming and development elsewhere on Maui by Alexander Baldwin and Company. They struggle to adapt and their way of life has been threatened. They call it cultural genocide. They have been waiting for a hearing on their problem for seven years. A member of Alexander Baldwin Company is on the water board. The Honolulu Advertiser Sunday edition reports the CEO of Alexander Baldwin was paid over $15 million dollars while the Hawaiian farmers struggle. The photos in these stories say a lot. He is smiling, they are not. Is this aloha? Is this aloha 'aina? I don't think so.

And I have to ask myself what am I doing to perpetuate aloha, aloha 'aina? I drive a car, I use electricity, I'm living on land that used to belong to Hawaiians. How can I honor this culture and malama (take care of) the 'aina in better ways each day?  Can I remember to take reusable bags to the store, send less plastic to the land fill, put solar panels on my house?

Hawai'i has much wisdom to offer the world if we listen and practice aloha, whether it is to the 'aina, the oceans, or just daily kindness to other human beings. Aloha kakou! Take care.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A great sage passes

It is a difficult time here for me and many people in Hawai'i as news reaches us of the passing of "Auntie Nona" Kapuailohiamanonokalani Desha Beamer.   Nona was a founding board member of The Whalesong Project, and a close personal friend and mentor of mine.  My love for her goes very deep.  A short synopsis of her life "Islands have lost more than an auntie" in todays Honolulu Advertiser also features a video clip of one of her last public interviews on PBS Hawai'i. Nona has been a lifelong educator and activist.   She was a Kumu Hula, teacher (and dancer)  of traditional and modern Hawaiian Hula, for most of her long life.  She was consulted by world leaders, a friend of Eleanor Roosevelt, a collaborator with Pete Seeger, a representative of the Hawaiian People to the Dalai Lama this year.  She has stood up to presidents and congress people to address injustices.  Of ancient ties to royal lineages, she never spoke of this.  She always practiced aloha, kindness, humility.  A dark cloud and light rain hang over Maui today.  We send our love to the Beamer 'ohana.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Status Report and more on climate change

We are still playing recorded whale songs until the hydrophone can be repaired, and I hope that can be soon.  CNN/Time is running a story today on the health effects of climate change.  The World Health Organization, American Public Health Association, and others are working to create awareness of the public health implications.  It's not just rising ocean levels, melting ice caps, warmer temperatures.  Read more if you are interested.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Dolphin Bubble Rings, Oceans, Hawai'i

Broadening the conversation a bit -  Pamela Melenani Polland sent me this very fun and playful video link of dolphins playing with bubble rings.  Mahalo e Melenani!  

Katie Grove-Velasques sent this link to the UN Oceans Atlas project.  It has great information on ocean ecology.  The organization is elsewhere pointing out the problems of "desertification" of certain parts of the ocean due to acidification from carbon dioxide.

Two airlines serving Hawai'i went bankrupt this week, leaving many looking for other ways to get home to Hawai'i, or back to their homes from Hawai'i.  The cost of fuel and living continue to get higher here, leaving many local people in a tight squeeze.  For the many prosperous people who buy increasingly expensive homes in gated communities here, it is not a problem.  Local people, Hawaiians who have lived here for generations and have lost land and culture in ways that were not just, continue to be squeezed.   

Hydrophone status

We had a major power outage with high winds yesterday.  A trip to repair the buoy is being delayed until a window emerges for a team and good weather combined to make the trip out there.  We hope to have live whale songs playing again by Saturday morning.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Status Report and more on Navy Sonar

We are still playing a recording of this season's whale songs.  Sea conditions did not allow a repair trip today, and work load demands will likely delay repairs until sometime Wednesday.  An article in today's Navy Times describes the tension between the Navy, the courts and environmental groups arguing for protection of the 26 some species of marine mammals in Hawai'i's waters.  I can't help thinking there has to be a solution that ensures safety of our fleet and nation, while protecting the ocean environment.  Technology, politics, diplomacy, arms control agreements can all play a part.  Any bright ideas out there?  Please comment.  Aloha, Dan

Hydrophone problem

The feed from Hokumoanalani was mysteriously quiet early today, and then got very noisy. There's a problem out there in the ocean, and I won't be able to look at it until this afternoon. I'm putting on a recording made earlier this season until the problem is fixed.

Quiet Hydrophone this morning

Lots of whales were singing last night into the early morning hours. This morning is mysteriously quiet, and a trip to the buoy will probably be required to see/hear what's going on out there.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Something Positive on a Sunday Morning

Maybe you got the same email from Al Gore, but if you didn't he's created an organization called We Can Solve It to address global warming.  The effects of global warming on whales and the oceans in general are debatable, but most observers agree it is going to make the world look very different if we don't do something.  Doing something seems important anyway because we are eventually going to run out of oil.  So we might as well do something now rather than later.  Here's a link to Al Gore's website where you can sign a petition and receive more information.  The whale are still singing energetically  this Maui morning.  Occasionally I am losing the feed as we exceed our maximum number of listeners.  We are looking into adding streams.  Much aloha to everyone out there who is listening and reading this.  Take good care.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Whale's numbers are thinning, but still singing

People on the ocean are reporting less whales, as the annual migration to northern waters progresses.  However, we are still hearing lots of singing on the hydrophone.  A problem was reported on the paypal donation button on our home page.  The problem has been fixed.  We are well on the way to raising the $10,000 minimum it takes to keep this project alive.  I'd like to raise $100,000 this year, so we can move forward on other projects including curriculum materials for schools, and outreach to the international education community.  We want children who have never even seen the oceans to have a chance to connect with them and to appreciate their importance for a healthy planet.  Of course we'd like to reach adults as well.  I'm afraid with the ice caps melting (and other problems on the planet) that I'm not sure if we have, as a world society, learned to be responsible adults yet.  Action is needed more rapidly than governments are responding.  What can we do?  I ask myself that question all of the time (exasperated).  One of my favorite sources of information and positive ideas come from David Suzuki.  You might want to check out his web page.  Aloha to all.  Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dolphin and Whale Ineraction

Many of us here in Hawai'i have witnessed interactions between dolphins and whales.  Often we see dolphins with mother and baby whales, especially around the time of birth.  People speculate that the dolphins may be there to protect the baby whale, or to assist in some way.  I don't know if there is really any way to have definitive insights about these behaviors.  But there appears to be interaction and what could be interpreted as protective behavior.

We do know that dolphins have the ability to visualize, through use of their "sonar" and large brains, images of objects in the water.   Dolphins are known to either sense or "see" when human women are pregnant, and display protective behaviors around them.  

I'm thinking about these things as I watch a YouTube video sent to me by my sister, Laurie Praskin.  This TV clip describes a dolphin in Aotearoa (New Zealand) saving two stranded whales.  If you watch this  you can see that it's not a stretch of the imagination to deduce that there are acts of compassion and cooperation in the cetacean world - between species.  You'll also see the dolphin playing with children at the beach.  Here's the clip.  Thanks, Laurie!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


I am inspired by the support and interest shown to our project in these recent weeks.  The benefit concert was a success and there have been more donations.  Our basic operations cost about $10,000 per year, and we are well on the way to getting there.  This year I hope to make us a more effective organization by raising much more so we can do a lot of things we have been dreaming interviews, more documentation of cultural ties to the whales and oceans,  curriculum materials, the web cam, etc.  We have been invited to participate in the Ritz Carlton Environmental Program, which is now directed by Iokepa Naeole.  Iokepa is an inspiring man of the ocean who, among other things, works with children on educational projects related to the oceans and the environment.  See Iokepa on this trailer for the movie Message in the Waves, produced by BBC.  I highly recommend this movie.  As a result of the movie, many cities in England are banning plastic bags.  Plastics are killing a lot of marine life.  See the movie, please.  It addresses the problems in the oceans, but it is very inspiring at the same time.  Beautiful cinematography.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Whalesong Project at Celebration of the Arts

Aloha kakou to everyone from the Ritz Carlton Kapalua, where we are participating for our sixth year by bringing the live whale songs to the event, and talking story about the whales and oceans. This is a very important cultural event, not just for Maui. People come from all over the world, and Hawaiian cultural practitioners come from throughout the Hawaiian Islands. We will be here all day Saturday. Please come join us and experience this very important event. More info on the event here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Whale Song Concert Tonight

The whales are really singing this afternoon, and we are looking forward to bringing their live songs into our concert tonight at 8 PM Studio Maui, Ha'iku.  Thanks to all of you who have volunteered time and energy to make this happen.   I look forward to seeing some of you there!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Humpback Calves indeed produce "vocalizations"

Whales are mysterious creatures, and I have learned to be humble and cautious when making any statements or speculations about their behaviors.  Seven years ago I was strongly criticized by a whale research scientist for stating (to a local newspaper) that some of the sounds we hear on our hydrophone are mother-calf communications.  It seemed obvious to me for some reason, and we have also observed these communications while kayaking off the coast here with a hydrophone. Research by the Cetos Research Organization has now "confirmed evidence that humpback whale calves produce sounds."   Whew!  I appear to have been vindicated.  They also confirm there are vocal communications between mothers and calves, and that both male and female calves produce vocalizations.    Read more in the Honolulu Advertiser article.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

System Working! New U.N. Warning on Climate

The hydrophone system is working well this Sunday morning on Maui.  Reports say that whale numbers are thinning, and we are noticing fewer whales singing.  This appears to be normal for this time in the season.

A story on the CNN website this morning says the world's glaciers are melting more rapidly than predicted.   "There are many canaries emerging in the climate change coal mine, " United Nation's Environment Program executive director, Achim Steiner, is quoted as saying.  "The glaciers are perhaps among those making the most noise and it is absolutely essential that everyone sits up and takes notice."  Read the full story.  

We at The Whalesong Project are taking notice.  Some islands south of here are already losing their beaches and becoming uninhabitable due to rising ocean levels.  The Whales are another rather large canary in the "mine."  Is this why some people call them the "canaries of the oceans," I wonder. Predicted climate change events that are in place could be extremely disruptive for whales....and humans...coral...the whole planetary ecosystem.  When scientist author David Suzuki was here recently, he suggested that addressing climate change, moving to non polluting energy sources, should be approached with the same fervor that America did to put a man on the moon.  "Anything less," he said, "would be un-American.......and difficult to explain to our grandchildren."  I think he made some good points.  

If any of you on Maui have time, please come to our benefit concert on Wednesday......print out our flyer and spread it around or tell your friends.  It will be a very interesting evening, and any proceeds will keep our hydrophone working and expand the project.  Mahalo!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Navy Sonar Use in Hawai'i - Important Information

There will be a public hearing on proposed sonar maneuvers in Hawai'i waters on Maui this Friday, 5-9 pm at Maui Waena Intermediate School. The Hawai'i Ocean Noise Coalition with Dr. Marsha Green will hold a public rally at Queen Ka'ahumanu Center at 3:30 pm on the same day. Written testimony to the Navy can be submitted by email at  More on the Navy side of the story.

The fact that sonar can cause harmful effects to marine mammals under certain conditions is well documented.   Then there is the question of National Security. We all care about that. And I hope we all realize that we can't have true security if we don't have a healthy ocean environment. I for one think the Navy could do themselves a really big public relations favor by waiting until the mothers and new babies have left Hawai'i waters before these tests begin, if they do. Please study this issue yourself and comment if you have something to say.

Monday, March 10, 2008

System Working! - Ocean Stories from Listeners

The system is working, which always makes it easier for me to breathe and catch up on my work that pays the bills.  A few interesting ocean related stories came in today.  This one from Whalesong Project Chairman, Ed Bigelow says some people in Norway want to save the planet by eating whales.  Another one, from Varuna Dargan, says the Arctic ice is melting much faster than expected.  Thanks to both of you for taking the time and for caring.   Let's all do what we can for the oceans.  If you'd like to see some beautiful panoramas of Maui, visit Ed's website.  Aloha to all, Dan

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Server maintenance this afternoon

Our streaming audio server at will be undergoing maintenance from 4 pm to 7 pm this evening (Hawai'i time). We don't know if this will affect our live feed or not, but we'll keep our ears and eyes on the situation.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The System is working!!!

Everything is working well again after a trip to the shore station to deal with a software issue.  Thanks to Robert Bonifacio for making the trip with me and adding his technical skills to our team.  Please enjoy the live whale songs, and remember to check out our Benefit Concert on March 19.  The project is run by volunteers who put in their own time and money, but the project is expensive and we have a lot we want to do that requires resources.  You can support the project by attending, and inviting your friends to the Concert.  It will be an enriching evening and I look forward to meeting more of our listeners there.  Aloha, Dan

Friday, March 7, 2008

Temporary Technical Problem

We have lost the live feed from Honua'ula to our server in California. Hokumoanalani, our buoy off the coast, appears to be working fine. Attempts to fix the problem remotely have not worked. Please enjoy the songs of whales recorded earlier this season while we troubleshoot and repair the problem.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

System Upgrade

From our technical outpost on the coast of Honuaola: We just installed a better graphics equalizer here at our shoreline base.  We hope this will enhance your listening experience by reducing the popping sounds made by shrimp who live near Hokumoanalani.  One of our Cultural Advisors and longtime Whalesong Project supporters, Nahi Guzman,, has dropped by to check on the project.  Mahalo nui, e Nahi, for all of your help and friendship throughout the lifetime of this project.... eight years already

Monday, March 3, 2008

The system is working well again

A trip to Honuaula has paid off in a successful repair of the hydrophone system.  Everything is working  well, and the whale songs you are hearing are indeed live.  Fascinating songs this Monday afternoon....    On my drive over I listened for the first time to David Rothenberg's CD and was deeply moved by the songs he collected and compiled, and by the delicate weaving of his instruments with the whale songs.  His website for the project is  We are looking forward to having David back on Maui very soon, and to the concert/sharing at Studio Maui on March 19.  David will also be with Whalesong at the Ritz Carlton Hotel for Celebration of the Arts on Easter Weekend.  See for more info.  Please come visit us there as we share whale songs, live and recorded, and talk story with the community.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Back to recorded songs during system repair

I'm sorry to report the system is currently down.  I will do a site visit tomorrow and hope to have the live whale songs back on the air at that time.  We are now playing a recording made off of Lahaina earlier this season by Kent.  Regarding the March 19 benefit concert for The Whalesong Project at Studio Maui - we just got confirmation today from Amara Pagano that she will lead a Five Rythms dance session to our live whale songs with David Rothenberg and other "live" human musicians, after David's presentation.  Amara is a very popular and beloved Five Rythms dance teacher here on Maui, and in Olympia, Washington.  Thank you, Amara!!!  This should be an exciting evening!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Benefit Concert for The Whalesong Project

Hokumoanalani, our buoy off the coast of Honuaula, is working well these days. We are now turning our attention to an important event on Maui - for those of you who love the songs of the whales, and seek a deeper understanding of their world. David Rothenberg, author of Why Birds Sing......also a great musician himself.....has just completed another book: The Thousand Mile Song - Whale Music in a Sea of Sound. David will be perfoming a benefit concert for The Whalesong Project on March 19 at The Studio Maui, 8:00 pm. All proceeds will help us to maintain Hokumoanalani and other vital operations. We are a volunteer organization, pay no rent or salaries, so help is appreciated in keeping this relatively expensive operation alive. Thank you, David! Keaolani will open for David with Hawaiian Music and Hula, and the event will end with a "dance jam" to live whale songs accompanied by David and surprise human guest musicians. I hope to see many of you there! Thanks for listening!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The sounds of whales and rain

We installed a reconditioned receiver at the dish antenna in Kihei yesterday.  Performance has been better than ever these past 30 hours or so.  The songs last night were described by listener Kate Holt in California as " a beautifully woven tapestry of sound."  Tonight the sound of a fairly heavy rainfall on the ocean can be heard along with the whale vocalizations.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The system is working again

A trip to the buoy by kayak yesterday before sunset corrected an intermittent technical glitch.  The system is working well now.  We expect to do some fine tuning of the system in the next day or produce less occasional static and improve audio quality.  Thanks for listening!