What is a Spy Hop? A spy hop is when a whale rises vertically above the waters surface to bring the majority of their rostrum and even their eyes above water level. The reason for a whale to spy hop is usually out of curiosity such as this morning as the whales came over to have a better look at the Whale Watch 1 while other times it is used to get a better view of the whales around them in social pods. The morning was another spectacular winters day as our first pod was four very relaxed and social whales. The dolphins socialised with them for a little while and then their attention turned towards the big clumps of seaweed floating around them.
Twisting through the seaweed and trying to cover themselves in it displayed just how sensitive their skin is and how much they love a good seaweed scrub. Approaching very closely they made sure to have a good look our way with a couple of curious spy hops. Our second pod was a lovely competition pod making their way across Flinders Bay and they guided us all the way back towards the boat harbour. The dolphins and a cheeky seal even joined in with the travelling whales for a little while. One of the male Humpbacks left behind an enormous bubble veil as he dived underneath us and popped up on the other side as he tried to hide the female.
Scanning ahead we could see multiple blows all around and made our way towards a few whales starting to converge. It didn’t take long before a competition pod had formed and five young adults were racing through the bay. The female led them towards the islands and as the boys followed the other pods in the vicinity responded with some defensive tail slapping. One female decided that this was the perfect opportunity to try and get some of the bachelor males to head her way as she launched into a huge display of breaching and pec slapping.
The breaching continued as her flirty behaviour did not go unnoticed and we could see a male approaching her, not that the male who had been travelling with her was very impressed at this stage! Eventually after a big surface display all three whales had joined together and we watched on as the female led the way with the males close on her fluke. Our last interaction was on our journey back to the coast with the local Bottlenose Dolphins who were feasting on baitfish alongside dozens of Gannets and Shearwaters in the sparkling afternoon conditions.