The Flinders Bay chase is on as we countdown the days as fewer and fewer female Humpbacks are easily available to the males and the competition is intense! Over the next couple of weeks we will start to see more pregnant females moving past the coastline and fewer females looking to mate this season. The males are well aware that the Flinders Bay chase is on and the urgency of finding an available female is become more apparent. During both our morning and afternoon experiences today we sighted competition pods as numerous males jostled and charged to get closer to the female Humpback they were trying to impress. A few sub adults have also been hanging around and did their best to keep clear of the kerfuffle of white water and energy surrounding them throughout Flinders Bay. The morning tour also sighted a beautiful female who had four big males following her calmly, a pec slap her or there encouraged their attention. She suddenly pushed towards our bow as we noticed a male approach her belly from below, a mating attempt which she was not impressed by at all as she rolled and lifted her lower belly out of the water and to the sky. A special moment that is rarely sighted due to the secrecy that surrounds this private time of the life of these amazing Humpback Whales.
The afternoon was very much the same with three big whales beginning to surge at the surface. On our approach we noticed the two incredibly large adult males following and an equally large female around Flinders Bay. A further male joined but only briefly, the intensity from the two older males was phenomenal as they launched themselves at each other. The younger male decided this was too much energy for him and took off underneath our bow as the local Bottlenose Dolphins decided they would join in. Astounding to watch as these whales moved as effortlessly as the much smaller dolphins with both males evenly matched it was going to be a tight battle. The intensity did not drop once, which was unusual as we often do sight ebbs and flows.
The males just kept on going as the female continued to travel at 18-20 kilometres per hour in a sprint that had the males pushing hard to keep up. The effort they were both putting into this competition pod was inspiring and the sound of their exhalations and trumpets created many goosebump moments. The female then launched into some incredible head lunges, almost seeming frustrated that this competition was taking so long. As we reached the other side of Flinders Bay though we could see that it appeared the original male escort had held his position, even though the challenger was still hot on his tail! Only a couple of weeks left for the opportunity to witness these intense competition pods as we near the time of the season where many of the available females fall pregnant leaving the bachelor males with fewer options…the Flinders Bay chase is most certainly on and the clock is ticking for the males!