A beautiful winters morning and we were in for a very special surprise as we approached four adult Southern Right Whales. Twisting, turning and gentle pectoral cuddles made us realise quickly that we were watching mating Southern Right Whales in Augusta! A truly remarkable spectacle to have the opportunity to witness and what made this encounter even more special was the fact that we had become a part of the pod. They completely relaxed with our company and we watched in awe as they cuddled up to each other right next to our bow. The males would show off with trumpeting exhalations and the female would often roll onto her back with belly to the sky to avoid mating attempts at times. One of the males we could recognise easily as he had the two small bumps on his back and this is the same male that was sighted in another courtship pod two weeks ago.
The peaceful afternoon was perfect conditions to be surrounded by Southern Right Whales once again as we re-sighted one of the younger males from the mornings courtship pod and he appeared to have found himself a new girlfriend! There were 6-8 individual Southern Right Whales in the area and this young male had a small injury to the tip of his fluke that had healed white and he was easy to recognise. Putting on the smooth moves he tried cuddling up to the female and gently rubbing his pectoral fin along her side… unfortunately for him she rolled onto her back with belly to the sky and he seemed to get the message! They both returned to quietly resting alongside each other and we know that this male will patiently keep trying his smooth moves whenever the female will allow.
Stacka and mum were also resting close to the river mouth with little Stacka growing in confidence everyday. He decided to swim over a little way towards us as he opened his mouth and flushed seawater through his baleen before realising he had moved a bit too far away from mum and quickly beelined back to her in a hurry! A truly remarkable day to see mating Southern Right Whales in Augusta along with over 15 individuals making Flinders Bay their own.