Humpback Whale conservation needs passionated, dedicated individuals and today we celebrated one extremely devoted Cetacean Soldier™ and our Curt & Micheline Jenner Award winner for 2021 Grace Russell. It was the perfect morning with clear blue skies and a calm sea as we made our way to the sighting grounds with all eyes scanning carefully. A mother Humpback Whale and her new calf surfaced close by and were extremely curious to all those around them. Approaching our bow she took some time to investigate us as Grace and her team launched the research drone for the Fat Whales Project to collect data on this pod. Settling in for a rest the mother whale surfaced right on our bow and took some time to replenish oxygen calmly, seeming to take every moment needed and completely at ease in our company. We tiptoed away as she rounded out and dived into the Indian Ocean with her baby close on her fluke.
Our second mother and calf pod seemed to know an imminent announcement was happening as they calmly waited in the depths below. It was time to announce our 2021 Curt & Micheline Jenner Award winner which is presented every year to a Whale Watch Western Australia Cetacean Soldier™ for their dedication and excellence in cetacean research. Grace Russell has Joined The Pod this year to better understand the overall health of Western Australia’s Humpback Whale population and all her endless hard work is exactly what is needed for Humpback Whale conservation. It was a wonderful morning to celebrate Grace and all her efforts and just as the presentation took place the mother and her calf surfaced within ten meters of us! They were also celebrating and in their way saying thank you to Grace, it is thanks to people like Grace that we know so much about the magnificent whales who call these waters home and can continue with further Humpback Whale conservation and protection.