Aired Wednesday August 17th, 2011 at 7:00 pm on KUED HD Ch. 7.1
In Hawaii, where new land is born as volcanic rock, another birth takes place. A baby humpback enters the world and joins the 3,000 or more whales that congregate in the warm waters off Hawaii each winter to mate and give birth. This is the story of the whale's first year of life. Over twelve months she will learn many skills from her mother, before they eventually make the several-thousand-mile journey together to Alaska's southeast coast. Nature: Fellowship of the Whales airs on Tuesday, August 17 at 7:00 p.m. on KUED Channel 7.
Humpbacks travel between Hawaii and Alaska every year, guided by their internal compass. On that journey, the young whale will meet dangerous orcas and sharks and playful dolphins and seals. She will learn to use her flippers and tail to announce herself and to communicate with other whales.
The rich waters of Alaska's Alexander Archipelago are the whales' summer feeding grounds, an environment very different from the calving grounds they have left behind in Hawaii. Here, more than the water temperature changes; the behavior of the whales changes, as well. While fiercely competitive in the breeding season in Hawaii, fighting for mates and protecting young, the days in Alaska are marked by cooperation. Whales work in teams to gather food in the most efficient way possible. When the summer ends and the food is gone, mother and baby will head back to Hawaii again.
The young humpback calf has only a year to learn the subtleties of whale society before she is left by her mother to continue her education on her own, learning from observation and experience. By the time mother and offspring return to Hawaii for the winter, the young humpback will be ready to find a place pf her own in the community of whales.
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