Whale breaching across Gage Roads today as we observed spectacular breaching and pec slapping from a lone Humpback Whale calling out amongst the other pods for a friend. A cloudy sky settled around us this morning as we departed the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour and the conditions made for good sightings as we scanned the horizon. Mothers and their calves had gathered and as the little ones rested we noticed a lone adult whale begin to breach and pec slap. Approaching her we could see that she didn’t have a calf and was calling out repeatedly to all the other whales in the resting grounds and beyond looking for a friend. It made us wonder about the story of this lone Humpback Whale, has she lost her calf to predation on the long journey south or was she a late arrival to the breeding grounds which has now resulted in a late departure.
Generally the newly pregnant females, juveniles and bachelor males are the first to migrate south from late August onwards so for a lone whale to be travelling south this late in October is not overly common. It meant that for her to find a companion amongst all the other pods which were mothers and calves wasn’t going to be easy. Breaching followed up with pec slapping is a callout to the other Humpbacks in the area to encourage their attention and she would repeat the call throughout our morning with her. Scanning the horizon we didn’t observe any response but we knew that this lovely whale would keep trying until she found a friend to join with to make the long journey south a bit easier. Whale breaching is the most spectacular behaviour to observe and we were fortunate today to see why this behaviour is so important in the Language of the Whales.