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An Unusual Visitor

Posted by: Kim Steutermann Rogers
Destination: Kauai
Oct 23, 2008

Scientists say some 10,000 humpback whales visit Hawaii each year.  In winter, it’s not unusual to glance at the ocean and see whales frolicking–breaching, spyhopping, pec slapping and lobtailing. 

Hawaii also has its share of various dolphins–spinner, bottlenose spotted–which are not uncommon to our waters.  What is uncommon in the waters off Hawaii, however, are orcas, also known as killer whales.  That’s why it was a big deal last night when a female appeared off Brennecke’s Beach on Kauai’s south shore.  Scientists gathered.  Veterinarians conducted examinations.  Volunteers kept the growing crowd informed.  Police roped off a wide berth.

Some speculated the orca had followed the humpback whale migration from Alaska.  Unfortunately, this killer whale beached herself.  After debating what to do, authorities decided not to try hauling her back out to sea.  She must have beached herself for a reason; nature knows how to handle these things.  Our unexpected visitor expired this morning after a beautiful Hawaiian ceremony in her honor.  Scientists are now conducting a necropsy to see if they can determine cause of death.


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