Whale Watching in Australia's South West today we had two large males and a young female Humpback approached us this morning and after making a gentle approach we seemed to be accepted into the pod. The young female was playfully rolling around the males and decided to show off her beautiful white belly to everyone onboard as she swam right up to us and lifted one pectoral fin high into the air. Lying on her side in this way we could easily see the throat pleats all in a neat line which showed everyone onboard a vitally important feature of the Humpback Whale. Feeding on krill and being specialised filter feeders the energy required to open such an enormous mouth and filter krill is significant, this is when throat pleats come in handy. Allowing the throat to expand like a balloon the amount of water and krill that can now be taken in one mouthful has increased dramatically allowing for energy efficient feeding!
Swimming close to our bow and enjoying their social interaction we had a funny feeling things may change as we looked to our left and saw three large adults moving into the area. A young sub-adult had already joined and now all four whats picked up on the energy of a strong, adult male who had left the pod to our left and was making his way towards the young female. Suddenly, the energy levels went from play to competition as the approaching male caught the attention of the original two males who took his attitude very seriously and tried to claim their spot next to the young female. Plenty of pushing, fluke swipes and jostling for position next the female was seen as they made their way towards the reef line. We allowed them to continue safely and if we could pick which male we thought would be the winner of the competition our votes were for the male who had approached and created a completely different energy level amongst the pod, he was a very focused young whale!