Humpback competition pod erupted in the sheltered waters of Flinders Bay today as a female Humpback Whale had three males pursuing her in dramatic fashion. It began quickly as we departed the boat harbour and found many pods moving through close to the coastline including two seperate pods beginning to converge. The female accelerated as three males now moved in behind her and we could see the intensity levels increase as white water was sent flying and the chase began. The males were very cheeky and attempted on a few occasions to go belly to belly with her which was a mating attempt. She was not impressed and began to dominantly tail lob and fluke slap every time the males came a bit too close for her liking. Males will often attempt to mate during competition pods but it is not what the females want as they prefer the males to compete amongst themselves and then choose their preferred male. To regain control of the situation the female Humpback continued to use her fluke to clear the area around her but the males persisted in their chase as they pushed each other away to try and get closer to her.
During the peak of the commotion the local Bottlenose Dolphins arrived to see what all the fuss was about and it was great to see their happy little faces. The arrival of the dolphins didn’t distract the whales as the female came in very close to our vessel to try and create a bigger reactionary distance from the males. It did work eventually as the mating attempts stopped and the males focused on blocking each other from the female instead. Everything was now under control for the female Humpback and her demeanour changed from defensive to flirty as she now encouraged the males to follow after her by pectoral fin slapping. It was working as the males followed her every move as three Humpback Whales remained with the third male having decided he was going to leave the competition pod and hang out with the Bottlenose Dolphins instead. Eventually only one male remained and now that she had picked her mate the pair moved off in their newly formed escort pod. Many more whales were still moving through the bay as the flow of the Humpback traffic past Augusta is increasing each and everyday.