Whale Watch Western Australia has a fascination with whale nostrils and it is what is exhaled from the cetacean blowhole that has us so intrigued. The exhalation of a Humpback Whale is travelling at 300 to 600 kilometers per hour in a mad rush to escape into the atmosphere and empty 90% of lung capacities the size of a small car in preparation for a quick inhalation, all neatly completed within two seconds. It is thanks to these whale nostrils that sends 37°C exhalations skywards three to four meters high which condense very quickly and has many guests chanting, “Thar she blows” when first sighted.
Today we had many exhalations all around as mothers, calves and their male escorts continue to filter into the coastline to rest and relax before continuing south. The first mothers and calves we met were resting quietly amongst the tankers as they disappeared into their sound footprint. This didn’t stop one of the calves who launched into a full bodied breach to get a better view of us before spending some time playing in the seaweed. Continuing our morning we met a very large female with her calf and male escort who came right alongside to investigate us and were completely relaxed in their surroundings. Approaching us closely we could clearly hear and see the powerful exhalation from the blowholes located on the top of their heads. Interestingly baleen whales have two blowholes, similar to our own nostrils and they exhale first before inhaling which leads to better gas exchange…we do the opposite and inhale first so our exchange is not as efficient as the clever Humpback Whale!