Eli the humpback whale

The Story of Eli

Eli was lovingly named by Susan and Marshall Mortenson in honor of their grandson.

Eli is a male humpback whale sighted by Ocean Discovery crew while on the 2:00 pm whalewatch tour on February 25, 2014 three miles off of Lahaina Harbor. It is often difficult to discern if a humpback whale is a male or female; however, since Eli was observed in the company of a mother (Inge) and a calf we can safely assume Eli was a male escort whale.

Humpback whales do not form long-lasting associations beyond the mother-calf bond that lasts approximately a year. Most humpback whales come together for up to a few hours and then “disassociate” and go on their separate ways. Male humpback whales can be observed joining a mother-calf bond in hopes to mate with the female. These males are referred to as “escort males”. When males come together in larger numbers they may engage in competition especially when a female is nearby.

The humpback whales in the Hawaiian waters are in the population of whales scientists refer to as the North Pacific humpbacks. These migratory whales come to Hawaii from their feeding grounds off the coast of Alaska to give birth and mate. The breeding grounds for North Pacific humpbacks extend beyond Hawaii to Baja California and the islands south of Japan.

The Pacific Whale Foundation research team will continue to watch for and document all sightings of Eli. We are grateful to Susan and Marshall Mortenson for supporting the Pacific Whale Foundation name-an-animal program and to you for adopting Eli. Your adoption will support the ongoing research efforts at Pacific Whale Foundation.

Sightings of Eli the humpback whale