The past week of whale watching in Dunsborough has been absolutely mind blowing and I don’t quite know where to start!!
It’s only September and we’ve encountered Blue whales migrating through the area already! Usually the BEST time to see Blue whales is October-November right here in Geographe Bay AND most commonly within 200m of the shore and less than 10m of water!!! Dunsborough is WA’s BEST and most accessible place to witness these incredible ocean giants!! Yesterday we encountered our FIRST blue for the season from the vessel, with two other confirmed sightings from our land based whale monitoring crew at Point Picquet! Hopefully this means we’re going to be in for another amazing blue whale season! Last year over 170 blue whales migrated though the area within sight of the shore and 71 of these were encountered from our vessel!
It really is hard to fathom the size of these MASSIVE animals from the surface as you really only get to see the tip of the iceberg! For something so large, they really are quite illusive! The blue whale is the largest animal, even bigger than any dinosaur that ever roamed the earth and weigh up to 180 tonne and get to 33m in length. However the Blue whales we see in the bay are mostly the “Pygmy” Blue whale, which quite frankly deserve a more appropriate name as they’re only ~5m shorter than the true blue, getting to 25m in length! (Longer than our boat!! so when they pass us it truly is an awe inspiring sight!) This season the whale watching in Dunsborough has been better than any other and we’ve only just started!
We have witnessed MORE minke whales this season alone than the rest combined!!! We even encountered three different individuals in ONE tour!!! The dwarf minkes are 5-6m so they’re tiny compared to the ~18-20m whales we’re used to seeing out here!! They’re commonly quite skittish with vessels but LOVE to mug divers!! However we have now had two extremely close and curious encounters from the Minkes and we can’t wait to see how they react throughout the season. The minke whales have really got the crew wondering whether before we just didn’t know what we were looking for and if they’ve been here the whole time OR if we’re seeing an increase in numbers throughout the bay.
We’re also starting to see more and more southern right whales AND their calves in the area. With each encounter the mother/calf pairs are becoming more and more confident with the vessel. Our favourite pair of the season so far were BREACHING just off the shore and only in ~12m of water yesterday. This was an awesome case of the mother teaching the calf how to launch its already 1 tonne body weight right out of the water! The encounter went on for over 10 breaches before the calf continued to flop around and frolic in the sunshine. This incredibly cute calf has been named speckles for its very unique white and grey mottled colouration on its dorsal side AND its little left paddle-like pec fin!!! It’s truly been one of my favourite weeks EVER whale watching and we also had HUGE female and male adult humpbacks mug us for the entirety of two of our tours, spy-hopping, twirling and almost cuddling each other beneath the surface! The whales were coming so close you could touch them! We even got so close that we were able to get some images of the hair follicles on their bonnet and tubercles which are on the top of their head right alongside their funny looking barnacles!!!
We’ve also been SUPER lucky with our dolphin encounters, witnessing pods of both common dolphins and bottlenose’s feeding on bait-balls, riding the bow, launching their entire bodies out of the water and even some courtship behaviour ALL within close proximity! We think these playful little guys are wanting to steal our attention away from the week of EPIC whales and they sure did give it a good go!!!
Until next week!!!!