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Posted: Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 12:14 PM HST

Hundreds of volunteers count whales off Hawaii

By Associated Press

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) Nearly 300 whales were spotted during a 15-minute weekend counting period.

About 900 volunteers collected data Saturday for a whale count coordinated by the Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary.

Sanctuary programs administrator Fiona Langenberger says a total of 297 whales were seen during the 9:30 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. period. She says that was the most of any time period during Saturday's count, involving 58 sites reporting data.

The Garden Island reports Kauai and the Big Island each tallied an average of six whales seen during the 15-minute spans. Jean Souza is the sanctuary's Kauai programs coordinator. She says Kauai's average sighting is high for a February count.

The next count is scheduled for March 29.

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