My name is Mike Oster, and I graduated from Elon in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Since graduation, I have worked primarily on the water, teaching sail training, salt marsh ecology, marine science and now coral reef ecology in Hawaii. I work as a naturalist for the Pacific Whale Foundation on the island of Maui.
Things have been very busy lately because we are in the middle of whale season. Every year, approximately 7,000 humpback whales visit our warm, shallow waters to mate and give birth. The waters off Maui are some of the best in the world to see humpback whales and therefore draw a lot of people to our boats.
Each day, three Pacific Whale Foundation vessels leave Lahaina Harbor to go on various types of whale-watching excursions. A typical day for me involves a five-and-a-half-hour snorkel trip to the island of Lana’i, followed by a two-hour whale watch.
This time of year, we see lots of competitive behavior displayed by the males and lots of females with newborn calves. One of my favorite things to do on these excursions is to be the naturalist on the microphone, teaching passengers about humpbacks, interpreting their behaviors and answering questions!
Check back soon for the newest behaviors and exciting sites we see while out on our trips!