Rottnest Whale Watching on the last day of winter as we enjoyed the company of four boisterous Humpback Whales who were showing off some spectacular fluke slapping in the waters just off Rottnest Island. It has been a slightly earlier start to the southern migration this year but the usual pattern of yearlings, juveniles and newly pregnant females to head south first remains the same. Powerful tail lobbing began just ahead of us as a tanker was moving into the Port of Fremantle as another pod watched from afar. The female Humpback Whale was showing off some fantastic inverted fluke slapping as a tail lob would be thrown in every so often for good measure. The whales were relaxed and enjoying their day as an Australian Warship cruised past while the fluke slapping continued making a rather unique and impressive sight. Humpback Whales will often become surface active as large ships move past which helps to communicate to other whales in the area ensuring all are awake and aware of the vessels approaching the resting grounds.
It was a social morning as all four whales enjoying a bit of chasing as they pivoted and turned around each other and ourselves. Moving through the murky waters and edging closer to the cleaner water around Rottnest Island we had many Gannets resting after a busy morning feeding on gathering baitfish along the tidelines. All four whales looked healthy and seemed to have a good amount of weight they were still carrying even after a few months of no food. These individuals who start the migration south first don’t tend to travel as far north as the mature age breeding adults so manage to retain much of their fat reserves in comparison to the mother whales yet to head south later in October. It has been another remarkable winter whale watching season and as we enjoyed the last offical winters day for 2022 we are are very excited to see what is yet to be observed for the spring southern migration ahead and the forty-five thousand Humpback Whales yet to make their journey past the Perth coastline.