One of our abalone diver mates in Augusta told us a story of an interesting sight he witnessed last week.
He was getting ready to dive out near fish rock (to the right of the island) in Augusta, when he saw some mature humpback whales acting very erratically near a calf. They were tail slapping madly and looking very angry and then all of a sudden, a large shark flew through the air. After this, some other humpbacks came charging in from a distance away and joined the action. It appears the whales were protecting the calf from a couple of sharks – and succeeding!
Not all humpbacks are so protective though. There was a story in the media a couple of weeks ago about a calf sighted in the Bay and the humbacks circling to protect it while the mother was lifting it out of the water to breathe. When we saw the calf on the same day, the mother was trying to help the calf, but the males circling were definitely not there to protect it. They were jostling and fighting to get to the mother, not getting the idea that she wasn’t interested in any funny business as she had just given birth. The calf was being pushed around and at one stage the mother was using our boat as a shield from the amorous boys.
We have amazing action in Augusta with the Humpback Whale migration. I wonder what sights we will be seeing from Busselton when they are on their return journey. It is amazing to see the distinct difference in attitude.
In Flinders Bay there is a lot of tension, particularly toward the end of the season, as the males vie for the attention of females. Groups of males often approach established pairs to try to push in on the male. This becomes more intense as the season goes on and what we call “courting” behaviour. See the video.
In Geographe Bay in September, when we head out from Port Geographe Marina, you can see that the pressure is off, all of the business has been done and they are there just to chill out. This is when we get the lovely mothers and calves heading through and also when the juvenile males go mad – leaping out of the water again and again.
See videos of the differences I am talking about below.
Courting Behaviour, Augusta Whale Watching with Legend charters:
Mother and calf coming through Geographe Bay off Busselton:
Male jumping for joy in Geographe Bay off Busselton:
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