Watching three Blue Whales feeding in the magnificent environment of the Perth Canyon on a picture perfect Saturday is what dreams are made of! Today was a special day for our guests onboard as we departed and made our way out towards the Perth Canyon for a day of exploration and we were certainly in for (three) very big surprises. Our first sighting was of a very friendly pod of 10-15 Bottlenose Dolphins including a few young calves who seemed very curious about towards onboard.
Further along our journey a large bait ball had caught the focused attention of some Flesh Footed Shearwaters who were diving into the water head first trying to capture a tiny silver morsal for breakfast. Another pod of Bottlenose Dolphins had also been attracted to the area and after saying a quick hello to us continued busily working to keep the bait ball close to the surface, much to the delight of the Shearwaters! Our arrival in the Perth Canyon had everyone onboard carefully scanning and patiently waiting for that unmistakable exhalation of the magnificent Pygmy Blue Whales.
Whoosh! Our very first sighting was of a 6 meter high blow that belonged to a large 18-20 meter individual who had just surfaced from a feeding dive. Absolutely gigantic in size we had a good comparison as he moved past a local fisherman in a small dinghy and made us all feel very small indeed. After replenishing his oxygen levels we then watched as he disappeared into the blue with a very calm sounding dive to return to a depth of about 200 meters and continue dining on Perth’s finest krill. Only moments later we sight another tall blow, this time from a smaller individual of around 10-14 meters… we had two blues! For the next two hours we watched as one would dive to continue feeding while the other would surface and replenish oxygen levels as we kept busy tracking downtimes and collecting photo identification. During the last 30 minutes another Blue Whale joined in on the feeding activity and we soon learnt being surrounded by three feeding Blue Whales makes you smile… a lot!
The larger Blue during one of his ascents had relieved himself and left behind to our amazement a large quantity of fantastically coloured whale poo! Due to their love of krill the resulting whale poo is a very bright orange colour thanks to the exoskeletons of the krill and fertilises the oceans that they live in and visit. A wonderful opportunity to collect a sample which we managed to successfully achieve and will be passing this onto our research team. A fantastic day with sightings of Bridled Terns, Wilsons Storm Petrels, Flesh Footed Shearwaters and Juvenile Australasian Gannets adding to the fun of our exploration of this beautiful and vitally important part of our West Australian coastline.