Dangers of the Humpback migration can often be sighted as old injuries and today we met one Humpback who was a propellor strike survivor. Approaching this pod who were resting we paused to sit with them for a little while and wait for their next resurfacing. The minutes ticked by and it was with much excitement that a sudden flash of white appeared close on our starboard side as one of the whales in this pod launched into an enormous full body breach.
One breach was quickly followed by another as the powerful breach caused a loud thud to echo out around us as this pod continued swimming forwards. It seemed that this whale had been startled, perhaps by our approach and even though we had been stationary this response was showing a whale who was very cautious around vessels. It didn’t take long to see why, watching carefully along the back of this whale we could see one of the dangers of the Humpback migration which all whales must be careful of, propellor strike. Thankfully it was an old injury and appeared to be caused by a small boat, perhaps a dinghy that had not seen this whale and unfortunately the propeller contacting the skin had caused the distinctive scarring we could see today.
A great example as to why it is so important to ensure when working with whales we are always observing their energy and behaviour. Maintaining our energy below the energy of the wildlife we are working with ensures they are always in control of the interaction. Further pods moved around the cape and it was exciting to see some big, playful pec slaps and tail slaps further ahead and on our arrival a social pod of three whales were enjoying the sunshine. The sunny weather continued into the afternoon as a resting escort pod took their time meandering through Flinders Bay.
A commotion ahead was being caused as a female Humpback began to breach and pec slap repeatedly, attracting the attention of two males as the competiiton pod began to form. Chasing after each other we watched on as all nearby pods began to scatter away from the competitive energy. Multiple pods provided more opportunities for Grace to continue her data collection for the Fat Whales Project and today both the weather and whales were very kind with successful flights and one whale being proudly named Steph Ladyman after our Pod Member onboard.