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Season’s first humpback whales spotted off Keramas

Date Posted: 2003-12-18

The first humpback whales of the season were spotted Monday off Tokashiki Island. The crew of Ferry Zamami made the discovery. The whales migrate south every year and the number observed off Tokashiki, Zamami and other islands in Kerama group has been increasing annually. They spend the winter in the warm waters here, give birth to their young and then migrate back north at the end of March.

Zamami Whale Watching Association member Kiyoshi Miyagi welcomes the pair. “My friends from the ocean have come back to see me,” Miyagi said with a smile. He said that within a couple of weeks there will be many more whales. “Last year we counted almost 200 of them, and we expect more this year,” Miyagi said.

The appearance of whales has given rise to whale watching tourism that has become an important source of income to the islands during the winter months. The regular whale watching tours are scheduled to begin on Jan. 6. For details contact any on or off-base tour agency or call Zamami Whale Watching Association in Japanese at 098-896-4141 or 098-987-2277.

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