By Ramsay Wharton
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Endangered humpback whales made another rare visit inside Honolulu Harbor late Thursday night.
The captain of "The Henry Senior" reported two juvenile male whales followed him into the harbor around 11 p.m.
Witnesses say they were last spotted around 5 a.m. Friday near Pier 30. TheCoast Guard and other observers looked for the whales from land, air and sea at sunrise, with no luck.
Regardless, news of the whales in the harbor attracts the public to come out. This is the second appearance of the whales at the harbor.
On Thursday, a mother and her juvenile spent about seven hours thrilling spectators before leaving at around 2 p.m.
"We saw on the news last night that there were two whales here and it just looked so beautiful we thought maybe we'd see them again this morning," Margaret Gray said. "So we were hoping to see them again."
"I think nature is great, the way it brings everybody together, and I think especially for an area like this it's amazing to look out here and see everything," Ireland native Linda Nicholson said. "So, fingers crossed that we see something exciting today."
Officials are keeping a lookout for more whales and will likely resume a 100-yard safety zone around them if they are found in the harbor since they are protected species.
According to the Coast Guard, it is not known why the whales came into the harbor, why they returned or if they are the same two spotted on Thursday.
Officials say whales are known to approach vessels and rub against them, in a habit called "mugging." If this happens, boaters are urged to put their ship in neutral until the whales leave.
Whale season lasts through March. Anyone who sees a whale or other marine mammal in trouble is asked to contact the NOAA Marine Mammal Hotline at 1-888-256-9840 or (808) 643-3567 (DLNR).