DIAMOND HEAD (KHNL) - It's that time of year, when people flock to the shoreline, hoping to see one of the ocean's most amazing creatures.
Gracing the waters every Hawaiian winter, are gentle giants, attracting curiosity and awe along Oahu's South Shore.
"The best part of today was when I got to see a huge big splash," said Cole Reynolds, a Waikiki resident.
For Reynolds, who's under the weather after battling asthma, the sightings are a breath of fresh air.
"It's interesting and you get to see wildlife in the ocean that you can't really see in aquariums," he said.
Only a day before, Chopper 8 caught a spectacular view of a mother and her calf off Hawaii Kai.
On Friday at the Diamond Head lookout, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Marine Sanctuary held a lunchtime whale watching event.
Members of the sanctuary say it's part of an educational program. The hope is, the more people know about humpback whales, the less harm recreational activities pose to this endangered species.
"We mostly get calls about entanglement in fishing gear, and fishing gear can drift all over the state and can come from anywhere," said Alisa Davis, a volunteer with the National Marine Sanctuary.
The sanctuary also offers the community a chance to count humpbacks during the whale peak season.
"The data along with other data that NOAA has gotten over the years has shown an increase in the population that comes to Hawaii," said Holly Mitchell, a volunteer with the National Marine Sanctuary.
A four to seven percent increase per year, according to researchers.
NOAA says Hawaii is the only state where humpback whales mate, calve, and nurse, making sights like along the shoreline all the more mesmerizing.
The sanctuary's next whale watching is Friday, February 27th at Halona Blowhole.
The next ocean count is Saturday February 28.