Perth Blue Whale Season 2023 begins as today we were surrounded by nine Blue Whales, a super-pod of Dolphins and the first Humpback Whale for Season 2023! A calm and beautiful warm day was forecast as we welcomed our Pod Members at Sardine Jetty in the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour and made our way towards Rottnest Island for the first time this year. Excitement and anticipation could be felt throughout the Steep Point as we cruised past Rotto and the day was alive with many recreational vessels enjoying the spectacular weekend of weather creating a buzz of activity around the island. Passing over the continental shelf we could observe schools of baitfish bubbling with Gannets and Shearwaters as white water propelled towards us as between 600-800 Dolphins were spread over a vast area.
It was wonderful to see a medley of Striped Dolphins, Common Dolphins, Offshore Bottlenose Dolphins and spectacular Spinner Dolphins racing through the Indian Ocean with ease. A very large gathering of Dolphins who were all enjoying the abundant food that was plentiful today and filling many bellies which was fantastic to see. It took a while to move past so many individuals that were spread well over a kilometre but we wished them well as we moved out towards the Blue Whale sighting grounds. The call went out to our starboard side as the distinctive, lofty 7+ metre blow of an ocean giant appeared. It was of course our beloved Blue Whales and they were out in force today with nine individuals identified which is a fantastic number to observe of these endangered species.
Feeding was the theme of the day as to be expected during this time of the year as each individual would enjoy replenishing oxygen gracefully before rounding out and returning to the depths below. Dive times were short today at only five minute intervals and it was a joy to spend time with one Blue Whale before popping over to the next repeatedly as they fed within close proximity to each other. Krill is swarming in the Perth Canyon and providing a wonderful opportunity for the Blues to feed up well before continuing the next stage of their migration to warmer waters for the winter in the Banda Sea. It was spectacular to witness numerous tail dives today as well with the enormous seven metre wide fluke lifting with ease before creating the momentum needed to send the Blue Whales on their way to the feeding bonanza below.
Wishing the Blue Whales well for their evening ahead we began to make our way back towards Rottnest Island and as the lighthouse came into view we were in for a wonderful surprise. The first Humpback Whale sighting for Season 2023 appeared as a beautiful young Humpback Whale surfaced with that wonderful arch the Humpbacks are renowned for. Only taking a few moments at the surface the youngster continued on with his journey but it was a very exciting sighting as we have missed our Humpback Whales since our last interaction with them in late November last year. Feeding during the summer months in Antarctica the arrival of the first Humpback Whales starts off as a trickle during our autumn months but quickly turns into a stampede as they take over the coastline and we enjoy winter and spring with these remarkable travellers. A superb way to begin Perth Blue Whale Season 2023 and see so many happy, health cetaceans.