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State briefs for October 2

First humpback whale of Hawaii wintering season seen off Maui

HONOLULU (AP) — The first whale of the humpback whale wintering season in Hawaii has been spotted in waters off Maui.

Nick Moran, a flight instructor for Go Fly Maui, was training students off the coast of Kaihalulu beach in Hana when something caught their eye.

“I’m thinking, okay, maybe a shark, like hitting a turtle, but it was way bigger than that. So we went out there and we saw this big gray shape in the water and it came up and breathed and breached again,” Moran told KITV.

“We were super excited,” Moran said. But they also wondered if it was too soon to be seeing the mammals given humpback whales normally winter in the islands from November through April.

“Like I think the first reaction was, uh, are they allowed to come this early?” Moran said.

Allen Tom, superintendent for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, said not to worry.

“This might be a little early, but not too early, so it’s good,” Tom said.

About half of the North Pacific humpback whale population migrates to the Hawaiian Islands from Alaska each winter. They breed, give birth and nurse their young while in warmer Hawaii waters.

Travelers
arrested for
fake COVID
test results

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii authorities arrested two people from California for submitting fake COVID-19 test results to avoid a mandatory traveler quarantine meant to curb the virus’ spread in the islands.

A 34-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman uploaded falsified negative test results into the Hawaii Safe Travels portal and arrived in Lihue on an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles earlier this week, Kauai police said.

After they were arrested, they were released pending investigation and caught a flight back to Los Angeles.

The woman declined to comment Friday, but the man couldn’t immediately be reached.

Travelers entering Hawaii must quarantine for 10 days unless they have been fully vaccinated in the United States or test negative for COVID-19 before departing for the islands.

Hawaii authorities have been arresting people who violate travel rules, including a woman from Illinois investigators said uploaded a fake vaccination card that misspelled Moderna as “Maderna.”
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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