First Humpback Calf for Season 2021 was sighted this afternoon as the tiny calf surfaced alongside mum with both having matching big white bellies. It was a wonderful surprise and as most pregnant Humpback Whales are aiming for the Kimberly nursery grounds, seeing such a young calf this far south is a very special encounter. Sometimes females will go into labor much further south than planned which results in the calf being born in a colder environment. It is not ideal but doesn’t mean the calf won’t survive, many females will still keep migrating at a steady pace north to warmer waters. The female today was enormous showing a good amount of fat reserves and appearing extremely relaxed as her new baby swam confidently alongside her and appeared to be no more than a week old. It was the perfect opportunity for Grace to launch her drone and collect data on the first Humpback cow/calf pod for Season 2021 for the Fat Whales Project. Dozens of other Humpback Whale pods were close by but didn’t approach mother and calf which allowed this little family to continue their day peacefully.
The morning was also busy as many escort pods were in a hurry to cover ground and continue north. Common Dolphins and Bottlenose Dolphins made sure to join in on the fun as they raced towards us and surrounded every angle. Playful and enthusiastic they remained for a while bow and wake riding as the Humpbacks followed either side of us as well. A pod of three young whales began to relax and interact while pivoting and twisting, flipping their flukes as they swam upside down and into a “handstand”. A sudden flash of movement caught our eye as two big males surged towards the social pod and that was when things became a little more competitive. The boys trumpeted and flexed as they pushed in on the interaction before all settled and the five Humpbacks moved together towards the reef line in preparation of their departure from Flinders Bay. A wonderful day to be back out on the water after the storms and meet our first Humpback calf for Season 2021 …welcome to the world precious one💙