This is such an exciting time of the year, the arrival of the humpback whales to Hawaii. The whales are very special to all of us here in Maui. They awe us and we can’t help but respect their size, their gentleness, and their beauty. Many people here are whale advocates, and rightly so. We celebrate them, protect them, and love them. The good news is that the population of the North Pacific humpback whale is on the rise, increasing by nearly 5% to 7% each year. The humpback whales are listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and protected by the Marine Mammals Protection Act, which means that you may come no closer than 100 yards to a whale. But, even at that distance, you can still feel the power and the awe-inspiring beauty of these creatures. Such an experience… that cannot be easily forgotten.