U.S. Navy Set To Blast Humpbacks


Literally, as we were going to press, I received this e-mail, and numerous subsequent follow-ups from concerned readers of Awareness Magazine across the country. Since we are scheduled to go on the press within only a couple of hours, we have made every possible attempt to publish the most current information available concerning this tragic situation in Hawaii.

FEBRUARY 24 (11:45 A.M.)
LFA Sonar (Low Frequency Active Sonar) testing is to begin by the Navy on February 25 off the Northwest coast of the Big Island of Hawaii, right in the heart of the Humpback Whale birthing and breeding season, and is expected to last for four weeks.

For those of you who don't know what LFA Sonar is, please see the National Resources Defense Council's website .

In a nutshell, the tests consist of blasting whales and any other marine life within the area with sounds up to 230db. This is up to 100 times the noise of a 747 taking off. Also remember the whales' primary sense is not sight like us, but hearing.

It is not an accident that the Navy has chosen that location or this time of year as they are specifically bombarding singing adult Humpback Whales with extremely loud sound to see the effects. It is intentionally designed to see what the disruption will be.

The Navy only lacks a permit from the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DNLR), whose Chairman, Mike Wilson, was to rule on shortly. The Navy has asked Mr. Wilson for immunity from any and all damage (deaths) they may produce.

This is our one and only chance to stop or at least delay these tests until all interested parties have had a chance to give their viewpoints.

FEBRUARY 24 (4:00 P.M.) -
We are still waiting to hear the results of a hearing that is currently being conducted by Judge Helen Gilmore in Honolulu. The Animal Welfare Institute, Earth Island Institute, Earth-trust, and Greenpeace Foundation filed suit to seek a temporary restraining order stopping the tests at least temporarily.

If the suit is unsuccessful (a very difficult undertaking at the eleventh hour), boats and volunteers are being recruited to go into the water near the Navy broadcast ship to force cancellation of the tests. The Navy intends to broadcast in a focused beam at identified whales until the whales demonstrate evidence of distress.

FEBRUARY 25 (11:30 A.M.) -
The Animal Welfare Institute is currently organizing volunteers in Hawaii to join them in harm's way by getting in the water between the Navy and endangered Humpback Whales being targeted with ear-splitting blasts of sound. This direct action campaign will proceed if a requested temporary restraining order is not issued by a federal court today.

The Navy is planning to start blasting singing Humpback Whales with up to 230db of sound along the Kona coast of the Big Island of Hawaii starting Wednesday, February 25, and continuing for three to four weeks. (Permanent human hearing loss begins at 130db; 160db has been shown to cause tissue shearing.

The Navy's plan is to test their low frequency active (LFA) sonar anti-submarine warfare device specifically on singing Humpback Whales by increasing the volume until the whales show "acute distress". The test is right in the middle of the breeding and calving grounds of endangered Humpback Whales.

According to whale researcher, Dr. Marsha Green, also a party to the lawsuit, "Blasting humpback whales with sound of this intensity could kill them. When the ATOC sound source was tested off California, three dead humpback whales were found nearby. When the sound source was tested off Kauai last fall, another dead humpback was found. To use endangered whales as military sonar targets is a crime against nature."

The Animal Welfare Institute has been vigorously protecting marine and terrestrial wildlife since 1951. International coordinator, Benjamin White, calls on the citizens of Hawaii to join him in forming a human wall of divers between the Navy and the whales, saying "The time has come to literally put our bodies on the line to stop this unprecedented sonic attack on breeding and calving humpback whales. If the United States Navy insists on going forward, they may well kill their own citizens as well as whales."

FEBRUARY 26 (12:30 P.M.) -
The only court action took place on Tuesday, February 24, when the judge denied the Temporary Restraining Order. The hearing on whether to issue a Preliminary Injunction will not be held until next week.

At a meeting last night, nine boat owners volunteered their boats to take people out of Kawaihae Harbor at the north end of the island to put swimmers into the water. We also have commitments from six boats further south in Kona. There will be further recruitment of boats and swimmers.

The challenge is that the test area extends 20 miles off the west coast of the island and from the north end to the south end, which is approximately 100 miles. What that means for us is that we have a challenge to even know where the boat is located. Then once the boat is located, we have to have boats in a nearby part of the island prepared to go out with swimmers; for boats in Kawaihae to reach the Navy boat at the south end of the island, for example, would take the Kawaihae boats six or seven hours and is, therefore, impractical. Anyway, we are trying to recruit enough boats and swimmers to be able to respond to where ever the boat appears. We have a plane in the air right now looking for the boat.

We have received a report from folks who swim with, observe, and interact with the dolphin that unusual behavior has been seen during the past few days. While pods of 20 to 30 dolphin are the most common, we and others have sometimes seen pods of up to 200. The report we received is that a superpod of up to 1,000 dolphin were observed off the west coast of the island. The dolphin were organized into a very tight group occupying a very small area for such a large pod. There was a great deal of surface activity and a great deal of chatter. The dolphin appeared highly agitated and in a defensive posture.

For those of us who have interacted with the dolphins, this report is not surprising. Their level of intuitive understanding and intelligence is extraordinary. They are quite likely detecting the fear vibration emanating from the planned Navy bombardment. We have seen the dolphins swimming with the humpbacks and there are numerous reports of dolphins driving sharks away from birthing whales. That they would come to the defense of the whales is to be expected.

A particularly helpful insight from Mary Rose - "Many of us are holding a vision of this island as a healing center for the entire planet. The island is already serving that purpose. As a healing center with extraordinary capability to achieve healing, this center will attract those with the greatest challenge to be healed. The United States Navy coming to this island to deliberately assault humpback whales is clearly a call for healing from a deeply troubled group."

A spiritual insight from a Light Worker Center meditation this morning - "The Navy sound is a dissonant sound that disturbs the harmony of the ocean. This morning was the solar eclipse, which signaled the entering of a new frequency into the environment of the planet. The dissonance produced by the Navy is the negative expression of this positive new frequency. The broadcast of the Navy sound yesterday captured the attention of the humpbacks and prepared them to receive, absorb, and blend the new frequency into the biosphere. That awakening process was completed after the first Navy sound was broadcast. Any further broadcasts are both unnecessary and reprehensible.

Thank you to Lanny and Mary Rose Sinkin of the Light Worker Center in Hilo for keeping us updated as the events unfold, to our readers who brought this situation to our attention, and to the numerous concerned individuals who are prepared to put their lives on the line to stop this insanity.


This was received from Hawaii today, Tue. Mar 10. We are asked to e-mail, fax, call AGAIN to everyone we can, and extend this information out to friends and associates. The situation appears to be worsening. Pleaseconsider sending another set of messages, even if you have already sent them once.

From: Tue Mar 10 18:16:02 1998

Date: Tue, 10 Mar 1998 13:00:24


From: Light Worker Center


E hula au me na kohola = As I dance with the whale

As most of you know, the United States Navy, with a permit from the United States National Marine Fisheries Service, is currently off the west coast of the island of Hawai'i attempting to broadcast loud, low frequency sounds directed at hump back whales during their birthing season. Thousand of people from all over the world are trying to stop this experiment. This message is a request that those of you who have already taken action take further action and that those who have not yet responded join in this effort.


Recent Developments:

On Monday, March 9, the federal judge in Honolulu denied the temporary injunction sought by four environmental organizatons. A spokesperson for the Navy called the ruling a victory for the whale. We assume he was not referring to the whale described in the next development.

On Monday, March 9, observers from the Ocean Mammal Institute watched a baby hump back yesterday breaching 230 times over a five hour period. Such behavior is highly abnormal. There was no mother visible. We have a boat out this morning searching for the baby. Given the absence of the mother, the age of the baby, and the abnormal behavior, we are concerned that the baby is dying.

The Navy says they have no evidence that the observation is true (note the shifting of the burden to those who would protect the whales and the implication that OMI is lying.)

A professional diver had seen six hammerhead sharks in Kailua Bay and Keave Bay. Apparently no one had seen sharks in those locations before, and the theory was that the testing had driven them in. The first sonic tests were on Sunday, and dolphins were not seen in Kealakakua Bay, where they come almost every day to rest, from then until Thursday.

With no public notice and after the close of the public comment period, the Navy amended their permit to allow "taking" breeding and calving hump backs (as opposed to only singing males), foraging sperm whales, dolphin, seals (Hawaiian monk seal is on the verge of extinction), and turtles.

We have organized a continuous presence of swimmers in the water to force the Navy to turn off the broadcasting equipment. The boat captains are giving up thousands of dollars in charters to ferry the swimmers out to the Navy boat and fronting the funds to operate the boat. We are trying to raise funds to support the captains. Please send contributions as soon as possible to:

Animal Welfare Institute
Box 3282
Friday Harbor, Washington 98250


In addition to sending a contribution to the Animal Welfare Institute, please forward this e-mail to anyone on your e-mail list who might respond to this appeal. Also, please compose your own message to include a demand to stop the Navy attack on the whales and send by e-mail or fax.

E-mail Mike Wilson at and David Tarnas, Representative of the 6th District of Hawaii, at and express your concerns over this unconscionable act.


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