Humpback Whale Barnacles

Humpback Whale Barnacles were aplenty on many whales we met today including one very curious subadult before numerous competition pods filled Flinders Bay throughout the morning and afternoon. The morning started with a few clouds on the horizon as we departed the Augusta Boat Harbour and as we rounded the corner the first whales were spotted to our starboard side. Three seperate pods were on the move as our curious youngster swam up behind them with the others steadily moving towards the reef line.

There was much excitement in the bay as numerous pods as far as the eye could see were starting to increase with energy as multiple competition pods began to form. One pod in particular was moving powerfully as eight enormous adults were competing as the female moved ahead of the boys to lead the way. Pushing, shoving and plenty of impressive reversals unfolded as each of the males did their best to get closer to the female. A second comp pod was only a hundred meters away as the two pods converged together whales scattered everywhere and resulted in the original competition pod growing to twelve amongst the hazy rain.

The clouds cleared and wind eased for the afternoon as Flinders Bay was once again busy with numerous pods on the move. A pod of three we approached first with one young female being followed by two males who were relaxed but showing off with plenty of trumpeting. She approached us very closely as the boys followed underneath the bow and we could count each of the Humpback Whale barnacles. The barnacles will live on the Humpback Whales skin for around a year before falling off and leaving a small, round scar which can assist with identifying individuals. The fun increased as another male approached and joined with all four now moving towards the reef line with a few flirty pec slaps and plenty of belly rolls along the way.

Wishing them well we joined with another pod that had moved up behind us and these five whales were a lot more competitive being older and larger. The boys were busy trying to push each other away from the female which went on for a while before two of the males decided to look for another female to approach. The remaining two males continued to compete as the female put out one last challenge for them by swimming directly towards our bow and alongside us. Only one of the males could see her manoeuvre towards us and followed closely but the second male misread the fast manoeuvre and found himself on the other side of our vessel. To avoid embarrassment he continued on swimming towards the reef line to search for another female while the remaining male was now the winner and happily swam away with his girl.

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