Keoni the Whale

The Story of Keoni

Keoni is a Hawaiian humpback whale named by Pacific Whale Foundation supporters, Desiree and Stephan Blaeuer-Degen from Switzerland in memory of their father/father-in-law, John. Keoni is the Hawaiian name for John.

John was very fortunate and lucky to get to know the world. His biggest adventures were experienced on Maui where he first glimpsed a humpback whale. It changed the meaning of his life! The gentle, elegant, and wonderful whales impressed him so much that he returned regularly from Switzerland to Maui to see “his” whales.

In memory of John, Desiree and Stephan named this humpback whale Keoni and want to leave us with this quote from the mathematician Frank Clark, “The most important thing that parents can teach their children is how to get along without them.”

What a touching quote especially when one reflects upon the lifestyle of humpback whales.

Humpback whales are solitary animals by nature and the most common pod, or group, size is two animals. This represents the mother-calf pair. After a gestation period of almost a year, humpback whales give birth in their winter mating grounds. The moms will then nurse their newborn calf for almost a year and guide them on their first migration to their feeding grounds and back to the mating grounds. For Keoni, this migration is between Hawaii (mating grounds) and Alaska (feeding grounds).

After that first migration, the yearling (year old calf) is on its own and has learned all it can from its mother. The humpback whale father, unlike John, has no direct impact on the development and nurturing of his young.

It is quite difficult to ascertain the sex of humpback whales from visual observations unless you get a good luck on their ventral (belly) side and observe the hemispherical lobe present on females, see the mother-calf pair, or observe other behaviors that serve as clues. From the sightings of Keoni, this animal was seen in a competition pod with four other animals. It stands to reason that Keoni is a male and was competing for a female to mate with. Only time will tell.

Keoni was seen on January 8, 2013 off the coast of Maui. Our researchers will keep us informed of future sightings of Keoni.

We thank Desiree and Stephan Blaeuer-Degen for the generous donation to name Keoni in memory of their father/father-in-law John. Through adopting Keoni, you have also made a generous donation to support the ongoing research studies by Pacific Whale Foundation. We hope you enjoyed learning about your whale.

Sightings of Keoni