Our passengers today were in high spirits as we motored out into the belly of Flinders Bay, even a small shower couldn’t dampen the mood!
Two tall blows were spotted ahead so we boosted over to find a slow moving, uninterested whale. This whale wasn’t a very good example of how curious and acrobatic humpbacks can be! As it cruised slowly along we noticed it was covered in yellow-tinged barnacles ranging from a few dotted along the leading edge on its head to a completely barnacle covered tail. It is not usual for humpback whales to have these features as they have been in colder waters where a cold-water diatom (algae) sticks to the skin of the whale. As the whale migrates north into warmer waters this colouration and a significant amount of barnacles will fall off due to skin regeneration as substantial heat loss isn’t a worry in tropical waters. It’s just like having a six-month tropical holiday full of spa treatments!!!
We thought this might have been it for the morning but we persisted and managed to find another more inquisitive humpback! As the clouds cleared and the sun shone down this whale mugged us and circled around the boat covering our passengers in its snot! Every time it exhaled, you could feel the vibrations on the boat, such a special encounter for not only the passengers but the crew alike.
As we motored away from the whale to end the tour it demanded our attention by breaching just on our stern! It seemed to be that when we returned for our afternoon tour this whale was still kicking on! We spent the first twenty minutes of the tour in awe at how the humpback was moving like an ocean ballerina, launching itself sky high and then twirling about above the surface. We were soon joined by a pod of common dolphins, most likely the same ones we have been interacting with over the last few days. One dolphin looked to be mimicking the nearby whale by jumping out of the water like a whale breach! Another beautiful, crisp day in Flinders Bay.