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An Unforgettable Humpback Adventure: 19.06.24 Morning Tour

A spy-hopping Humpback Whale

Humpback Heaven

This morning whale our watching tour viewing the humpback whales in Flinders Bay left Augusta Harbour at 10am. What unfolded was nothing short of a marine spectacle, a dance of the giants of the sea, that left everyone on board spellbound and deeply connected to the magnificent creatures that call our oceans home.

The Humpback Highway

As we set out into Flinders Bay, it didn’t take long for the action to begin. Captain Craig, ever vigilant, quickly spotted the telltale blows of humpback whales dotting the horizon. He wasn’t wrong about the bay being a humpback highway. Within minutes, we found ourselves surrounded by three humpbacks circling our boat in a behaviour known as mugging. This up-close encounter was the perfect prelude to a morning full of whale wonders.

Up Close and Personal

The excitement on board was palpable. The crew, seasoned veterans of whale interactions, cheered on the whales, encouraging their playful antics. Before long, we witnessed the fascinating behavior known as a spy hop, where whales pop their heads out of the water to take a good look around. It felt as though they were as curious about us as we were about them. These gentle giants seemed to be people-watching, taking in the excitement and joy radiating from the boat.

An Unforgettable Encounter

Our attempt to move on to other whales was thwarted by our new friends. The trio continued to follow us, engaging in more mugging behaviour. One whale even rolled over at the bow of the boat, seemingly requesting a scratch on its belly. This gave us an extraordinary view of their two pectoral fins and ventral grooves. The latter, expandable like an accordion, allow the whale’s throat to stretch significantly—an adaptation that helps them feed efficiently.

A Bay Teeming with Life

Eventually, we managed to break free from our three companions, only to find ourselves in a bay alive with whale activity. In every direction, humpbacks were making their presence known. Ahead of us, a particularly lively humpback caught our attention. The bay seemed to come alive even more, revealing a competition pod of four humpbacks. The female led the chase, making the males work hard for her attention.

The Dance of the Humpbacks

Observing this competition pod was like watching a grand ballet. The males, vying for the female’s favour, displayed remarkable energy and coordination. It often comes down to the last two males who then engage in a “sing-off” to win the female’s attention. The victorious male earns the right to mate, beginning a new cycle of life with a gestation period of approximately 10-12 months.

A Unique Sight

Among the many whales, one particularly stood out—a smaller humpback with a unique coloration. Unlike the usual dark grey tops and white underbellies of humpbacks, this whale was predominantly white with a striking black stripe running from its dorsal fin to its back. This rare sight was a highlight for everyone on board, reminding us of the incredible diversity and beauty of marine life.

More Than Just a Trip

Our whale watching tour with Naturaliste Charters was more than just a trip; it was a deep dive into the lives of some of the ocean’s most majestic creatures. From close encounters with curious humpbacks to witnessing the dynamic interactions of competition pods, every moment was a testament to the awe-inspiring world beneath the waves. As we headed back to shore, we carried with us not just memories, but a renewed respect and admiration for the whales of Flinders Bay.

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