The long weekend whale watching has been a wonderful few days of magnificent sightings so far and on both our morning and afternoon tours today we were surrounded by the company of wonderful whales. The morning sunshine arrived and the calm conditions guided us out to the sighting grounds and soon after arriving many blows erupted skyward together, a competition pod was forming. The female had taken the lead and had eight males following her which eventually grew to a total of fourteen whales. It is late in the season for this type of pod dynamic, but with so many bachelor males around and a female looking for someone to escort her south the chase was on! Pushing in towards our vessels, this large pod became very trusting towards us and would use our vessel as protection from the numerous other vessels that were passing by. Whales always respond positively when they are treated with respect and we enjoyed the company of all fourteen whales swimming alongside us as the males jostled for position closest to the female. A surprise was waiting for us on our return to the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour as a mother and her calf surfaced with the local Bottlenose Dolphins also slipping through the glassy conditions as they swam past our bow on such a peaceful morning filled with the company of special cetaceans.
A refreshing breeze escorted us to the sighting grounds for our afternoon tour and it didn’t last long, dissipating in the gentle afternoon sunshine. The whales had gathered together with a mother and calf pod sighted first, the little one breaching a few times as numerous adults jostled around them. The female was hoping to escape from the attention of the others with her calf and protective male escort which they eventually achieved. The bachelor pod lost interest in the mother and calf once they realised she was already travelling with a male escort and instead began to chase an escort pod past us. This resulted in some powerful peduncle and fluke slaps from the primary male escort who put a lot of effort into persuading the bachelors to depart. The boys excitedly surfaced right on our stern before making their way past the bow, maybe the other three pods a few hundred meters away would be more welcoming of their approach. The beautiful glow of sunset sunshine a young calf practiced breaching and perfecting those acrobatic skills as they continued past Rottnest Island with the recognisable vessel Leeuwin completing the perfect scene.