The Humpback Whale migration is sighted along the Western Australian coastline without fail every year, a true dedication from Western Australian Humpbacks. The journey is one of the longest known migrations of any mammal in the world and can take up to six months and a round trip of 13,000 kilometres long. The Humpback Whale migration is a vital part of our ecosystem and now that the Western Australian Humpbacks have recovered to over 40,000 individuals we are seeing our ecosystem flourish with their presence as they travel north and south year in, year out.
Although the epic Humpback migration is slowly coming to its completion for season 2018 we are still sighting mothers and calves gently travelling southward and today we also had the local Bottlenose Dolphins actively feeding with fluke slapping being used to stun the fish they were organising for lunch. This morning we met two mums and calves relaxing in the shallows as we joined with the slightly older and larger calf who was highly curious towards us and approached with mum by his side. As we were watching this lovely pod we had the very unfortunate situation of a small recreational vessel moving at speed directly towards them. Although we used our horn and radio to try and alert them they did not slow and moved directly over the top of where mother and calf were only a meter or so below the surface. To our relief they both were not struck by the vessel and immediately moved away from the area at great speed, understandably startled by the event and especially the calf who was trumpeting and fluke swiping which are both agitated behaviours.
Observing the pod carefully it was an opportunity to see how long it would take for both mother and calf to settle back to that relaxed frame of mind and after twenty minutes the calf had reverted back to his normal self and even appeared to have a feed of milk from mum. We must be so very careful when out on the water about our surroundings at all times, it is a great responsibility and privilege to be on the ocean and we must always have an awareness of our surroundings, just like our whales do. Thankfully for mother and calf they both escaped injury or harm and it will be a very important lesson for the calf to be wary of vessels approaching at high speeds and will hopefully protect them both from a similar incident in the future. Our Humpback Whales migration is an extraordinary achievement and we must do everything possible to ensure that we assist them in every way possible to achieve their goal of making a successful journey back to Antarctica and not hinder their efforts in any way.