Interesting week!

Aloha kakou!

I had an interesting week on ROB; two mom and calf pairs in the same area, intense competition pods, and a \"calf mugging\".

Wednesday was a beautiful day in paradise; I had a great ROB/whale watching on board of Ocean Intrigue. We were in our way back to Ma'alaea harbor, when we spotted a mom logging and two calves in shallow waters close to the harbor, the first thing that came to everyone's mind was: twins!!! Twins are extremely rare in humpbacks reproduction; there is almost always one calf. When twins are born, we believe that one never survives. If you think about the female energetic cost to migrate to the breeding ground, give birth to one calf, and nurtures its young, without feeding; it is a very energetically costly effort (mothers lose about 1/3 of her body weight). Can you imagine having twins? A few minutes after we sighted the pod, the other mom surfaced. Interesting encounter, two mom and calf pairs were in the same area and very close to each other. It's not very common to see mother and calf pairs together here in Hawaii. Mothers with calves association are infrequent, and it is believed that these pairs avoid one another . Maybe this unusual interaction sighting is related to the increase of north pacific humpback whale population and the effort to use limited areas of preferred habitat.

The end of this week the weather changed, cloud cover was about 90% and the sun was hidden most of the time. Weather aside, lots of actives in the water, lots of competition pods both in Ma'alaea and Lahaina area. We are in the peak of whale season, and these encounters have been happened more frequently. These pods are very easily recognized, they are characterized by their high surface activity and aggressive behaviors such as, peduncle throw, head lunge, inflated head lunge, tail cock, bubble blast, jaw clap, etc… Intense competition, which the most fit male will have the opportunity to mate with the female.

This work week ended with a close encounter with a calf, \"calf mugging\", and a beautiful rainbow. The calf came so close to the vessel (about 5 yards) that we could see a large white patch on the tip of its rostrum, and also its tubercles. The calf stayed with us for about 10 minutes until the mom surfaced and took him away from the vessel. It was a very exciting encounter!

Mahalo to captain Joe, Josh and Carlos, and all the crew/naturalists on board of the PWF vessels for providing the Research On Board great opportunities to collect data and awesome whale watching experiences!

Itana

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