Whale watching in Augusta over this past week has been VERY eventful to say the least! From premature calves to 90 tonne splashes!!! Click the link below to uncover more about our interesting encounters :D
The winter weather held off for us for nearly the entire week and boy was it glorious on the water! More often than not when the Alison Maree departed the harbour it was pure bliss! The combination of calm seas and low winds meant the bay resembled a mill pond! You’d think that with the majority of the humpback highway well on their way that it’d be quiet in the bay but in fact it’s been quite the opposite!
We had three stand out encounters across the week that really showcase how good Western Australia whale watching is all year round, so we had to share them!
In case you didn’t know, the Augusta area is one of the BEST places to whale watch in Western Australia, and this was the site of our first weekly highlight! We were out near St Alouarn Island when we sighted some serious splashing about in the distance. As we approached the white wash we could see two seemingly small humpback whales rolling around at the surface. Birds started to swarm and swoop over the area as we encroached on the activity whilst simultaneously a huge plume darkened the water between the pair! As the strenuous movements subsided we noticed a tiny seal-like figure surfacing between the humpbacks. At closer inspection it was in fact a TINY premature humpback calf that had moments earlier gasped at the surface for its first breathe!!!! As we stayed back to further uncover what was happening right in front of our eyes the new mother and her escort began to swim away from the tiny calf!!! We suggest that because the humpback was so small, it may have been her first time being a mother. With the majority of humpback whales giving birth much higher up our coast (Broome), the timing and location of this birth may have been too early for the premature neonate to survive as it didn’t even seem to have a dorsal fin. The longer we viewed the calf from afar, the further the pair swam away. This was a moment we will never forget.
On a happier note….we were lucky enough to be mugged by a friendly southern right whale that was residing near the river mouth. We lost sight of the animal for a moment before swimming right beneath the bow of the boat, its head out one end and its tail out the other!!! At this second you could clearly understand why their population was so easily decimated by whaling vessels!!! It wasn’t long after that the 90 tonne animal LAUNCHED its entire body out of the water time and time again!! After it had proven his ability to breach the adult southern right whale began to tail slap in slow motion almost like it was doing a headstand on the sea floor! You couldn’t help but laugh as the ginormous animal slapped, spy-hopped and splashed for the next 20 odd minutes for our lucky customers!!!
Lastly, one of our afternoon tours was one we will NEVER forget! Moments after we turned out of the marina we sighted TWO humpback whales spy-hopping only a few hundred meters away from the shore…they really made it easy for us this day!!! As we approached, the friendly juveniles began to turn upside down as if they were waving as us with their giant pec fins in the air!! It didn’t take long for us to realise that they were actually playing with a HUGE pod of around 50 bottlenose dolphins AND their calves!!!! The species were intertwined for the next 30 minutes, getting closer and closer to the vessel, circling the boat and checking us out at EVERY angle!!! As the dolphins dispersed back into the bay the two young humpbacks turned it up a notch!!! Tail slaps, breaches and pec slaps sum up the rest of the encounter as they played at the surface before circling back to check if we were still watching!!! This was such a great end to the week, and we can’t wait for what next week has in store for us!!