August is the perfect time to see the Southern Right Whales of Western Australia in the calm waters of Flinders Bay, Augusta. A perfect morning greeted us as we made our way towards a courtship pod of five adults who were actively mating with the males moving belly to belly with the female. Spy hoping and an enormous head lunge were sighted as we even noticed one of the adults open their mouth and we could see the immaculate row of baleen plates inside the upper jaw. A curious eye also appeared above the surface as we looked at the wide open eye of a Southern Right Whale looking back at us! The morning surprise was a cheeky female Australian Sea Lion who cruised underneath our bow and casually approached the courtship pod before spending the next 15 minutes chasing in and around the whales. Our Dolphin warrior was also re-sighted today and with a huge relief we could see he is now starting to heal with the wound site covered in a layer of blubber. Seeming to be relaxed he circled past our bow a couple of times allowing for a perfect opportunity to capture a few images to keep track of his progress and we hope he keeps up the incredible recovery.
The afternoon was just as beautiful with calm, warm conditions as the mothers and calves moved off the coast and enjoyed the afternoon sunshine. Two of the adults from the mornings courtship pod were sighted resting and still “snuggling” with the male gently rolling next to the female and placing his pectoral fin on her. One of the younger calves was resting close to mum in the shallows waters close to the beach and mum slowly turned to her right side to allow the calf to have a better listen and look at us. Little Stacka and his mum were having some fun in the sun with Stacka showing off his beautify white chin and belly as he rolled and practiced his pec slapping. Mum seemed to be trying to discourage the continued efforts of Stacka for more milk and even though she rolled onto her back Stacka climbed right up and onto her belly! They enjoyed a quick cuddle before Stacka returned to his pec slapping and he certainly did look like he was showing off to us. Our final mother and calf were peacefully resting with an Aunty close by, another adult whale who helps to protect mother and calf during their time in the nursery grounds and one of the many reasons why we love spending time with the Southern Right Whales of Western Australia.