Saturday Whale Watching on a picture perfect morning from Fremantle as we enjoyed a fascinating insight into the world of our Humpback Whales and their language. A current influx in Humpback Whale traffic has been observed over the last few weeks as the flow of the southbound migration is now in full swing with hundreds of mothers and calves moving through the resting grounds everyday. It is wonderful seeing so many new calves heading south on a big adventure and learning quickly each day new lessons from mum. Pods had converged and the mother whales communicated to clear the area around them and teach their calves the best way of going about this. One female launched into incredible body lunging which was impacting as all other pods around could hear her clearly. Following up with pec slapping her calf joined in to mimic what mother whale had just done. Moving out of the area we could see a second pod moving away quickly as a younger mother whale nervously moved away from the active area.
She was being chased by a recreational vessel who was moving aggressively towards mother and calf instead of maintaining the required 300 meter distance away. These types of recreational boaters do not understand whale body language and could not recognise that their chasing was causing distress to this pod even after we told them. Approaching the situation we noted the mother whale change course to move away from the recreational boat and towards us. All whales are highly intelligent and do not like being disrespected with aggressive behaviour from either other whales or vessels. It was a perfect example for our guests onboard as once the recreational boat had left the area the same mother and calf completely changed their demeanour and became curious and relaxed. Approaching our bow gently they came in for a closer look and it was a perfect example to our pod members onboard of the reward enjoyed when you treat wildlife with the respect they need and deserve.
Wishing them well we moved towards another pod which we could see included a mother, her calf and two cheeky bachelor males. The boys were following the mother whale enthusiastically trying to compete for her attention. She was completely focused on her calf though and didn’t allow the males to get close to her calf as she moved the little one closer to our vessel for a distraction. Swimming underneath and around us seemed to settle the males and was a good tactic by the female who was ensuring her calf didn’t get worn out by all this activity. It took a little while but eventually the males settled and the mother whale had control of the pod, the indication of this was the confidence increase in her calf. A few big tail lobs from the little one displayed he was protecting mum and telling the bachelor males who was boss. A wonderful day enjoying some Saturday Whale Watching meeting our incredible Humpback Whales of Western Australia.