Hawaii Whale Song Expedition: February 2013

Kona, Hawaii

In February 2013, Hawkes Ocean Technologies brought the Super Falcon to Kona, Hawaii to dive in the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Sanctuary, which is jointly managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Hawaii and constitutes one of the world’s most important humpback whale habitats. Each winter, the Sanctuary becomes home to 6000-8000 humpback whales, and the waters resonate with the complex series of sounds (“known as songs”) that the male humpback whales emit. To this day, scientists still do not understand the meaning of the songs.  Our mission was to fly the Super Falcon in the company of whales and listen to/record the whale songs in their habitat, as well as provide a public outreach opportunity for NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries.


Thanks to Liquid Robotics, we had a base of operations out of their Kawaihae Harbor facility and had some remarkable dives in the Sanctuary.  Thanks to Sam Cossman at Qwake, we were also joined in Hawaii by Nick Woodman, the Founder of GoPro and Bradford Schmidt, GoPro’s Creative Director, who mounted twenty-four GoPro cameras on the Super Falcon and are in the process of making a video of the dives. Keep an eye out for this newest GoPro video! In partnership with NOAA, National Marine Sanctuaries, we also hosted several local school groups and gave several public lectures on underwater flight.


Thank you to Liquid Robotics, NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries, Will Oswald, Jason Shepard, Paul McManus, and Geoff Baehr, Lee Behel, Judi Beisler, Sam Cossman, Marsh Cuttino, Robert Bruce Darling, Greg Kovacs, Scott Lidbetter, Mark Moffett, Mike Reigle, Tim Radke, Joe Schmidt, Dan Thorne, David Word, and the Chicago Museum of Industry and Science — all of whom helped make this expedition possible.