Phenomenal breaching Humpbacks today and we were astounded to sight a beautiful Antarctic Minke Whale on this afternoons experience! Our morning was busy as the Humpback Whales moved through Flinders Bay and shortly after spending some time with a few resting whales we ventured towards some surface activity up ahead. Double fluke slapping was underway and as we approached we noticed a female, her male escort and a rather cheeky juvenile doing his best to get the lovely ladies attention. They swam directly towards us and as they did, the juvenile began to tail lob as he communicated his frustration. The female didn’t seem too interested in all the fuss and continued to keep on cruising along with the occasional pec slap here or there.
The boys though were displaying towards each other as one would fluke slap while the other tail lobbed as all three whales moved across the bay. Just behind us another pod of two Humpbacks approached and circled around us in curiosity and interest. They continued their pattern across the bay when another pod surfaced just to our left. Before we could get a good visual of this second pod, the female Humpback we had been travelling with leapt into a full body breach right alongside us! Needless to say we were all completely blown away by the incredible sight we had just witnessed as 45 tonnes of breaching Humpback hung horizontally for a split second before an enormous cloud of white water caused her to disappear.
The second pod surfaced shortly after and we were very excited to meet our second Southern Right Whale calf and her mum quietly resting on the surface. The protective female seemed to be watching the nearby Humpbacks carefully as her tiny calf happily surfaced and took a sneaky look at us! The little one was just gorgeous and mum gently surfaced again alongside and replenished her oxygen before both calmly slipped below the surface again, we left them to continue their mother and calf time.
Departing the Augusta Boat Harbour this afternoon, our first interaction within moments was our lovely local Bottlenose Dolphins who were busily foraging as two large Humpbacks cruised past the harbour. We journeyed with them as they played with seaweed and cruised into the shallows soon after spending some time swimming around us for a closer look. We were journeying towards another pod of Humpbacks when a torpedo like shape began to rocket towards us with smooth footprints racing up to the surface, what on earth was approaching us with such speed? Sweeping directly underneath our bow and shooting over to our port side we all squealed with excitement as the unmistakable dorsal fin and streamlined body of an Antarctic Minke Whale surfaced! Absolutely gorgeous and completely unexpected, this beautiful Minke spent the next 45 minutes cruising through Flinders Bay.
We could see the orange colour diatoms (a type of algae that grows on their skin) and knew that this special whale was fresh from Antarctica and checking out Augusta. A very special opportunity to witness these lovely whales, although their population numbers are plentiful, to actually find an Antarctic Minke along the Western Australian coastline is not something that can be very well planned due to the poor understanding of their movements along our coastline. A very special interaction and Minke Whale that we felt privileged to meet on such a beautiful afternoon.