Augusta’s best whale watching was live and in action today onboard as we witnessed incredible competition pods charging through Flinders Bay. The morning welcomed a fresh breeze and many Humpback Whales who were mostly all travelling as escort pods. Everyone was content and minding their own business until four pods began to converge on each other, some of the males could be sighted getting a little bit anxious with a breach over here and a follow up tail slap over there. Further behind us was a bachelor male, although we hadn’t spotted him as yet racing towards us. We were distracted by the male Humpback to our right beginning to tail lob over and over again, defending the female he was travelling with. Shortly after, we all gasped as the bachelor male exploded from the depths as he had swum directly underneath us and surfaced right alongside, using our sound footprint to hide from the tail lobbing male. The competition had began and it was incredible to observe the continued surface activity as the two males chased after the female with much jostling and close encounters as they pushed each other towards us.
The breeze began to ease in the afternoon and our first encounter was going to be a special one, we were meeting a ship strike survivor. Some time over the last few weeks, this Humpback Whale has had an encounter with a vessel which has had a powerful impact on his back. We were relieved to see that this whale is going to survive and already the blubber is starting to heal. Spending only a short time with them, we moved further out to the point where many pods were shuffling around and an enormous female Humpback began to pec slap as two males followed. Another competition pod had formed and this time it was the female being surface active as she would encourage the boys attention by pec slapping and then following up with enormous breaching right next to us. It was some of Augusta’s best whale watching unfolding in front of us and a true joy to witness as this mature female had the two males lunging and following after her every move. Exhausted, one of the challengers eventually peeled away which left our beautiful female and her new mate alone together, we tip toed away to let them get to know each other and rest.