A remarkable day as we sighted some amazing moments during the Augusta Humpback Whale migration. There are still many juveniles and young adults around, but we are also now starting to see a few of the mature age breeding adults arriving in Flinders Bay. Our first meeting this morning was from a very friendly juvenile who approached our vessel “waving” at us as he lifted his pectoral fin while swimming towards us. A commotion ahead had our attention and it wasn’t long before an escort pod we were travelling with had two other whales interested in them. The escort male needed to show these approaching whales his strength and dominance and to our amazement he performed four enormous head lunges meters away from the bow! Although incredibly impressive, it did not slow the second pod down who continued to race towards the head lunging male and now all four whales were moving across Flinders Bay.
The afternoon began very similar to this morning with another completely relaxed juvenile who was sleeping. He drifted with the breeze and slight swell towards us and was resting right underneath our bow oblivious to the commotion of other whales around him in the bay. We left him to his afternoon snoozing and made our way towards a female Humpback we had spotted briefly earlier in the morning tail sailing. This behaviour is used to cool down and we have also seen this when a female whale is in labour, just last season we had a Southern Right Whale in the same area tail sailing. Arching her back and twisting from side to side she seemed rather uncomfortable as she approached us. Surfacing alongside our vessel and swimming gently underneath us we could see that this was definitely a young pregnant female with her ver wide belly very visible! We were amazed to watch her lifting her fluke vertical while trying to stretch out her back, a peculiar whale behaviour that can be sighted during labour. She was joined by two other whales who made a gentle approach, we decided to let them be and stay tuned for our post on whale labour to learn more about this incredibly rare behaviour to witness.