Maui’s 15th Whale Tales Goes Virtual Feb. 13-14 with Kickoff Guest Roger Payne

  • Maui’s 15th Annual Whale Tales goes virtual Feb. 13 and 14. Photo Courtesy: Flip Nicklin, Minden Pictures, Permit 19225
  • A whale goes for a dive on Maui. Photo Credit: Whale Trust
  • Maui’s 15th Annual Whale Tales goes virtual Feb. 13 and 14. Photo Courtesy: Flip Nicklin, Minden Pictures
  • A humpback whale in the waters off Maui. Photo Credit: Flip Nickin, Minden Pictures, Permit 19225
  • A humpback calf with its mother. Photo Credit: Ralph Pace, NMFS Permit 19225

More than 50 international scientists, photographers, musicians, videographers and conservationists will share 25 TED-style sessions and 30 check-ins from around the world at the virtual 15th Annual Whale Tales on Feb. 13 and 14.

The event also will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the landmark paper, Songs of Humpback Whales, by Roger Payne and Scott McVay — and the release of Payne’s compilation of recordings, “Songs of the Humpback Whale.”

These breakthroughs helped cement the humpbacks as a symbol of conservation efforts around the world, including the iconic Save the Whales campaigns. Fifty years later, humpback whale song still captivates all who listen and continues to drive researchers to unlock its mysteries.

Special guest Payne kicks off Whale Tales, which will bring the beauty of Maui and its humpback whales to people everywhere.

The event is presented by Whale Trust, a Maui-based whale research and education organization, and in partnership with The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua and Drury Design.

For nearly two decades, the Whale Trust research team has been dedicated to exploring and understanding whale song and natural behavior patterns in whales.

Payne’s kickoff presentation will be followed by a lineup of speakers from around the world—all of whom have dedicated their lives to understanding the communication and social behaviors of whales.

Event speakers and topics include:

  • Robin Baird, PhD, Cascadia Research
    Dwarf Sperm Whales in Hawaiian Waters: Using Drones, Photo-ID, and Citizen Science to Study a Difficult-to-study Species
  • Kenneth Balcomb, Center for Whale Research
    Orca Survey and the Big Salmon Ranch
  • Lars Bejder, PhD University of Hawaii at Manoa – Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology
    The Energetic Cost of Humpback Whale Migration
  • Moira Brown, PhD Canadian Whale Institute
    Right Whales and Their Allies
  • Rachel Cartwright, PhD, The Keiki Kohola Project
    Weathering the Lean Years – How Maui’s Moms and Calves Fared Through Recent Climate-based Disruptions in the North Pacific.
  • Hannah Cubaynes, PhD, British Antarctic Survey
    Whales from Space
  • Jim Darling, PhD, Whale Trust
    North Pacific Humpback Whale Song
  • Ellen Garland, PhD, University of St Andrews
    South Pacific Humpback Whale Song
  • Beth Goodwin, Jupiter Research Foundation
    Wave Glider Europa’s Multi-year Open Ocean Survey Of Humpback Whales
  • Ralph Lee Hopkins, Ralph Lee Hopkins Photography and Lindblad Expeditions
    Whale Tales 2021 – A Look Back At Five Years Of Photo Expeditions
  • Anke Kügler, Marine Biology Graduate Program, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
  • Marc Lammers, PhD, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary
    The Occurrence of Humpback Whales in the NWHI Revealed Through a Marine Drone
  • Mike Korostelev, Whale Watching Russia
    Whale’s Photographer – Encounters that Can Change Your Life
  • Ed Lyman, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary
    The Science Behind Large Whale Entanglement Response
  • Flip Nicklin, Whale Trust and National Geographic
    Whale Tales, A Chance to Tell Our Story
  • Ralph Pace, Ralph Pace Photography and Whale Trust
    Whales of Monterey
  • Debbie Patton, Captain Steve’s Rafting
    Humpback Birth Video, Update
  • Roger Payne, PhD, Ocean Alliance
  • Brian Skerry, Brian Skerry Photography and National Geographic
    Secrets of the Whales
  • Kate Stafford, PhD, University of Washington
    Listening to a Changing Arctic
  • Andrew Stevenson, Whales Bermuda
    What Are The Humpback Whales Doing in Bermuda?
  • Jason Sturgis, Open Ocean Productions and Whale Trust
    SD To HD. 4K To 8K.  Advancing Camera Technology and How it has Helped Whale Research
  • Hal Whitehead, PhD, Dalhousie University
    The Cultural Lives of Sperm Whales
  • Dave Wiley, PhD, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
    Using Advanced Technologies to Explore the Underwater Behavior of Humpback Whales

Registration is required to attend. A minimum $60 donation supports whale research through the Whale Tales Beneficiary Fund. Kamaʻāina discounts are available and the event is free to all students in Hawaiʻi.

Registration includes access to the weekend event and to all content for 30 days post-event. Special events, benefit whale watches and virtual experiences to be announced. Visit to register, view a detailed schedule and learn more about the event. People also can call 808-572-5700.

Over 14 years, the event has raised more than $822,000 to support research and education organizations working to understand and protect whales in the North Pacific. Presenting sponsors include Makana Aloha Foundation and George and Marie Weis.

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