The Humpback whale watch season is always different and we learn new things each season and watch each migration with great interest as every year is never exactly the same. Today we had a big surprise as a young Humpback Whale launched into a full bodied breach alongside our vessel as he appeared to be checking out what was happening above the surface. The southern Humpback whale watch season for 2018 is underway with lighter than average numbers recorded for Humpback Whale sightings so far this season, but with an influx of numbers earlier in the week and more juveniles moving south along our coastlines we are excited to see what each journey will discover.
The young Humpback today was resting in the sheltered waters not far from Rottnest Island as he patiently waits for the right time to continue south, preferably with a friend to join him for the journey. The juvenile Humpback Whales will often rest in sheltered areas as they await the next influx of Humpbacks who will arrive in the area. Their arrival is the perfect opportunity for whales who have been travelling on their own and resting quietly for a few hours to a few days to meet a suitable mate to join with for a short time during the southern migration. Resting is an important part of the migration process and while waiting for temperature, whales or timing it is important all Humpbacks, especially juveniles, do not over exert themselves and avoid wasting precious energy or blubber reserves.
The younger whales of the Western Australian Humpback Whale population physically do not have the capability to migrate into the heart of the Kimberly and if they are not of a breeding age group then there is no need for them to go as far as the breeding aged males and females. Their slightly smaller bodies will need a few years to develop and they achieve this by good feeding seasons down in Antarctica and a northern/southern migration which rids their skin of parasites and also provides socialising and learning opportunities. Once the weather warms it is then time for them to lead the race back towards Antarctica and be some of the first to enjoy a fresh meal of krill!