Kalani the Dolphin

The Story of Kalani

Kalani is a humpback whale in the North Pacific population and was originally sighted off the coast of Hawaii, in the breeding and birthing grounds. Kalani was named by Alex and Rishi from San Francisco, California.

Alex and Rishi got engaged and honeymooned in Maui and feel a great connection to the humpback whales. One of their favorite activities is to kayak out towards Molokini on calm mornings and enjoy the peace and quiet on the ocean while taking in the magnificent views of Haleakala and listening to the sound of whale spouts. They share a very special memory of a mom and calf humpback whale swimming directly under their kayak.

Their daughter Kalyani was born in January 2013 and Alex and Rishi named Kalani in her honor. They wanted to give their daughter a gift that would last a lifetime and naming and adopting a whale for her seemed appropriate. Kalani means “the heavens” in Hawaiian.

Kalani is about one year younger than Kalyani as this calf was first sighted on February 11, 2014 in the waters off of McGregor Point. Kalani was seen in the early morning hours with her mom and another adult escort whale.

Determining the sex of a humpback whale is difficult to do from visual sightings alone and typically moms are the easiest to confirm when there is a calf in their presence. However, the researchers who sighted Kalani stated that this young calf appears to be a female! To make this determination, the researchers must have been able to get a good look at her ventral surface and seen the hemispherical lobe that is only present on females.

Kalani will stay with her mom for a brief period of time before living a very independent life. Humpback whales do not live in large pods and form the bonds that other cetaceans, whales or dolphins, do. In fact, it is quite common for other mysticetes (baleen whales) like humpbacks to live solitary lives. The escort whale that was with Kalani and her mom would have only been by their side briefly as he was primarily interested in mating and will then move on.

We thank Alex and Rishi for their generous donation and for naming Kalani in honor or Kalyani. We hope that you enjoyed learning about your whale.

Sightings of Kalani