Humpback Whale breeding season can be observed in Australia from June to October every year as male Humpbacks work hard to gain the attention of the females. Today was a big surprise as a competition pod rumbled through the resting grounds with well over six males vying for the mother whales attention. She was most focused on keeping her calf ahead of the commotion and away from the competing males as they pushed and shoved one another repeatedly. The males had rubbed raw tubercles that were already starting to show signs of healing after what has been a very physical and long competition season. The peak of the Humpback Whale breeding season is winter as the females gestation is 11 months and she will need to time the arrival of her calf next year perfectly. The boys know this and dedicate most of their energy to the northern migration as breeding opportunities slow as we move further into the southbound migration.
Today the males seemed to not notice that we are in late October as they wholeheartedly chased the mother whale as she led them through the resting grounds. Mother and calf pods nearby responded with defensive tail lobbing as the boys intensity increased with spectacular reversals and direction changes. The mother whale remained calm and kept her calf ahead of all the boys ensuring the little one was as safe as possible. Teaching her calf how to use your environment to your benefit she beelined the Steep Point and dived directly under our bow to slow the males down before racing in towards the coastline. The males only started to settle as they moved into shallow waters and had to focus less on the female and more on where they were going. The young calf will learn so much from these interactions which will hold them in good stead for future situations to come in their future. It is always an exciting opportunity to explore the sighting grounds as you never know what wonderful surprise is waiting to be discovered!