Humpback Whale heat run is another team used to refer to a competition pod and today we had on both our morning and afternoon tours heat runs racing through the sighting grounds. It was a beautiful day as warm sunshine and a calm turquoise sea made for perfect whale watching conditions. Mother whales and their calves rested quietly to keep a low profile as today we had a large number of bachelor males and a few lone females moving through the resting grounds. The lone female travellers were certainly not solo for long as the bachelor boys raced to meet them but soon found themselves amongst other males with the same mindset.
The boys jostled for position as they pushed and shoved each other to try and get closer to the female as we watched the action unfold. One of the males from this morning had the entire top part of his dorsal fin missing which although looks to be in bad shape at the moment will heal up fine in the months to come. The males often crush or damage their dorsal fins with the constant pressure and impact on these areas during the heat runs. The female would lead the males on a chase to see who could keep up and continued to divert and change direction regular to keep the males on their flukes.
The boys can have a big challenge trying to keep up with the female but it is all part of the heat run process with only the smartest, fittest males able to keep up with the constantly changing momentum. The nearby mums ad calves were keeping a low profile so as not to attract any of the bachelors who may move further back in the heat run and lose interest instead deciding to approach the mother and calf pods closest to them. Thankfully the boys were focused today and remained with the females leading the chase which allowed mums and calves to remain relaxed and avoid any unnecessary energy burn. It was a fascinating day as although later in the season to be seeing these competition pods it is always a thrill to be part of the energy of a Humpback Whale heat run.