2017 Recap of Sea Riders involvement (Kokua) and Partnership in Ocean Conservation and Research on Kaua’i

 We are pleased to inform everyone that has supported Kauai Sea Riders of the extensive and varied conservation and research projects that we were involved in 2017. Links, Pictures and amazing partnerships were formed and noted chronologically below. As we know, it takes All of Us to make a difference.  Being married into a Hawaiian Ohana and as a Marine Biologist, I have always had the passion to bridge science and native indigenous knowledge.  Mahalo for continuing to support awareness, education and stewardship of our oceans and her inhabitants.  Humbly, Cap’t Tara


“I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it’s because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it’s because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came.” JFK

2016/2017 |  Hawaiian Islands NOAA Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council

Captain Tara Leota holds seat and attends quarterly meetings for Whale Watching for Hawaiian Islands at NOAA Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council.




Entangled Whale on Kauai March 2017March 5, 2017 | Humpback Whale Entanglement Monitoring

Kauai Sea Riders spotted and monitored an entangled Humpback whale on Kauai’s South Shore.  Read the article here.




March 16, 2017 | Marine Mammal Foundation: Whale Tagging Project
Captain Tara was proud to be included in survey with esteemed scientists.  “Dolphins use signature whistles to identify one another.  No other animal, besides humans, is believed to have specific labels for individuals”.  National Geographic May 2015

Researchers from the Navy, HDR, and the National Marine Mammal Foundation joined Kauai Sea Riders for eight days in March to study offshore humpback whale behavior and to tag and track individual whales using satellite tags. These tags are minimally invasive, but provide data on the diving behavior of the whales and their movement patterns. The behavior of humpback whales in offshore waters is not as well understood as their nearshore behavior, in particular the use of Kauai waters. Do animals continue to engage in breeding behavior offshore, or are they only transiting between islands or beginning their migration back to their feeding grounds? During this week of research, 62 humpback whale groups were encountered and photographed, with 125 individual animals. Humpback whale fluke patterns are unique, like human fingerprints, and so photographing their flukes allows researchers to identify individuals and track their movements if they are photographed again. Most of the encountered groups were dyads (pairs) of young males or a male and female. In addition, several competitive pods were also encountered, along with a few mother-calf pairs. This tells us that breeding activity does continue to occur in offshore waters. Most of the groups encountered were traveling west towards Ni’ihau. Seven animals were tagged with satellite tags, all males, and all of which continued to travel to Ni’ihau. Most animals continued traveling northwest from there, following seamounts up the archipelago until their tags stopped transmitting, although one animal traveled due north from Ni’ihau. These results begin to shed light on what humpback whales are doing in the waters off Kauai, and where they go from there. These researchers plan on returning next year to continue this study.

Read the NOAA Tracking the Offshore and Migratory Movements of Humpback Whales in Hawaii report.



July 24, 2017 | Hawaiian Monk Seal Preservation
Great tribute to Kauai Sea Riders in the July update on KauaiSeals.com.  “For years now, the Kauai Hawaiian Monk Seal Hui has been aided when accessing remote beaches by marine biologist Captain Tara Leota, sole owner-operator of Kauai Sea Rider Adventures. Captain Tara leads small groups of ecologically-minded guests on snorkeling adventures around Kauai. Captain Tara, her crew, and her guests welcomed our tagging team aboard her 25-foot rigid inflatable boat for the adventurous journey to find RJ36.”  Read the full article here.



October 13, 2017 | Pilot Whale Strandings in Nawiliwili

It was absolutely heartbreaking to be witness to a group of ten Pilot whales beaching themselves on Kalapaki Bay.  As part of a huge community effort, Captain Tara, Julie Gardner and Anthony Kuntz of Kauai Sea Riders responded and with the help of local paddlers and lifeguards – they were able to rescue one of the whales and escort him back out to sea.  Five whales died and necropsy results are still pending.



Invasive algae on a Kauai reef2017 | Near Shore Marine Monitoring
Probably one of the most important and immediate concerns for us is the condition of our reef building corals and habitat. Will take some backing and lots of dives, but we need to get a baseline survey started.  You can read the Grant proposal by Captain Tara and Kaua’i Reef Conservation.