Tales of a Competition Pod

Tales of a competition pod today as we watched the formation and completion of an intense interaction amongst the males and a winner at the end! Beginning our interaction with just three whales, one female and two males, who were charging across Flinders Bay with much focus. The females original primary escort was being challenged and these two males were sizing each other up. Big bubble veils, bull frogging and lunges forward as they did their best to keep things under control. All around them we could see tall blows as other challengers lingered on the periphery. The female was only young and seemed to be seeking some protection from the fuss by making her way towards the coastline, but the journey also took her closer to the other whales. Whoosh, powerful exhalations could be heard as further males surged past our port and starboard side, surrounding our vessel and pushing up towards the female. Within moments the pod went from three to eight as five new males joined and the competition pod was now well underway.

They continued to chase around us and often lunged up out of the water and onto each others back as the tension amongst them all continued to grow. Suddenly, skinny silvery dorsal fins broke the surface and completely surrounded all of the Humpback Whales as the local Bottlenose Dolphins took charge. Darting in front of them and circling around it wasn’t long before most of the male Humpbacks were completely distracted by these unexpected visitors. The female took this opportunity to leave the males behind and raced towards the reef line… that was for all except one of the other males. The largest and most dominant male did not miss her as she left and quickly followed behind. A couple of the nearby males also followed but within a few more minutes this big male had clearly won the competition pod and began to move off with the female. A fascinating tale to watch unfold today in the busy social scene of the Humpbacks!

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