We observed Karina and her calf on four occasions between the 13th and 26th of August 2009. There are few observations of mothers with calves in Hervey Bay in August. The small size of her calf suggested its recent birth, and may have accounted for its hesitancy in approaching the research vessel. We named the calf Paola.
Above: Karina underside fluke in 2003,
showing cookie cutter shark bite holes.
Eight days later we encountered Karina alone with Paola, and to our surprise she slowly and carefully brought it into our vessel. On her first approach she nudged into the side of the vessel, almost touching with her nose, but Paola was nowhere to be seen. After, what seemed like a long time, her calf timidly surfaced. Karina instantly lifted Paola even closer to the vessel on her rostrum, seemingly teaching it how to behave around a vessel. We had the privilege of capturing this incredible moment on film. On our first encounter with Karina in 2003, we noted two cookie cutter shark bites through her flukes. The shark missed its mark on one of the bites and the piece of her fluke was still attached. Remarkably, in 2009, the piece was still hanging from the left hand bite. We wondered if she remembered the sound of the research vessel engines from the 2003 encounter.