Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse watched over us this morning as we observed crystal blue waters and an intense Humpback Whale competition pod unfold on the outskirts of Flinders Bay. Our first encounter began with an adorable Humpback calf who was socialising with the local Bottlenose Dolphins. Surprised to meet our sixth Humpback calf for the season and even more surprised to see this little one so healthy, relaxed and interacting with some new cetacean friends! Mother Humpback gently swam towards us and the young calf curiously looked up at as, an incredible opportunity to have the trust and to be accepted into this family pod.
Mother Humpback found a suitable place close to the shoreline and appeared to be preparing to feed her calf, we wished them well and began to journey towards the horizon as breaching began to light up the skyline. Arriving we could see why, two competition pods were well underway as one of the females was flirting away with spectacular pec slapping. Four males surrounded her as she floated in the peaceful conditions, almost appearing to not have a care in the world as the males jostled for position close to her. A second female just to our starboard had also captured the attention of three males and as she began to take off, some of the pec slapping females male interests started to follow the other female instead!
Oh dear, there was some competition amongst the females now for the boys attention and as the pec slapping female continued we watched as the males charged on. Head lunging, bubble veils and trumpeting exhalations filled our morning as Bottlenose Dolphins also joined in on the action. A spectacular morning with magnificent views of the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse as we drifted not too far from where the two oceans meet, the Southern and Indian Ocean.
Our afternoon was also enjoying glorious conditions as we joined a pod of two enormous adults most excited to meet us. They swam around our bow and surfaced right underneath our vessel as they became familiar with us. In a mood to interact it didn’t surprise us when they both started swimming towards a lone juvenile just up ahead. Seeming displeased with the approaching adults, the younger Humpback began an enormous display of peduncle slaps and inverted tail slapping to deter the approaching adults. It didn’t seem to work though and as he swam closer towards us in search of a sound footprint, the two older whales responded with some surface activity of their own, a perfect example of the Language of the Whales™.
All three whales were now only meters away from each other as we sat still and watched the juvenile swim right up to our bow and continue peduncle throws as he went, while the two adults snuck up behind our stern in search of a surprise reveal! We watched on as all three joined and spent the next hour observing the interaction amongst them as the juvenile continued his surface activity as the older whales followed behind. An interesting mix of maturity, dominance and social time as these whales enjoyed an afternoon getting to know each other in the shallows of Flinders Bay. Eventually the juvenile did manage to evade the adults as they were distracted by us for a few minutes, swimming and rolling underneath our bow. They too eventually were distracted as well as another pod just up ahead seemed to draw them over and on our journey back towards the Augusta Boat Harbour we sighed, what a perfect day it had been!