It was worse than pulling teeth to have the remains of the beached whale returned back to the ocean. At first they were going to bury the whale in the sand dunes at the National Hawaiian Humpback Whale Sanctuary complex at Kalepolepo, in Kihei. Just by chance I found out about the whale and when I called them the Sanctuary officials said that the proper blessings were done and a necropsy would be performed and the carcass would be buried in the sand dunes and later dug up for display.
I told them that as the Chair of the Maui Lanai Island Burial Council, we would not permit it because the sand dunes contain ancient Hawaiian remains. The remains of the whale belong in the ocean not on land.
In calling the State of Hawaii archeologist, she reiterated my position about the sand dunes and that it would not be allowed. I kept insisting that the remains were to be returned to the ocean. After many hours of phone calls to Oahu and the mainland, we came to an understanding that the remains would be returned and the head of the animal would be sent to the mainland for further studies as to why it stranded. And that when the study is over, they would return the head back to Hawaii and I would take it back to the ocean where we were going to return the remains.
After the necropsy was completed I performed a ceremony at the harbor with the remains in the Department of Land and Natural Resources boat. They refused to let me go onto the boat with the remains so I instructed a Hawaiian member on the boat a prayer to say and to place a ho`okupu (offering) in the water with the remains. They were instructed to take a GPS reading where the remains were placed so when I return the head, I would know what area it was.
I just learned that another Pygmy whale washed ashore at Oneuli Beach in Makena and a necropsy was performed. The fight to get the remains back into the ocean is on going and tomorrow if I do not hear about the whereabouts of the remains, I will eventually have to call the Governor's office and find out about it.
Why are these animals dying for no reason? Is the U.S Navy with their deep water sonar interfering with the whales in the deep? Many of us think that this is the cause; we all have to get involve to find out the cause of six whales this year beaching them selves for no apparent reason.