The first few days of our Busselton Whale Watching in Geographe Bay season have really set the bar HIGH! Geographe Bay Busselton, features calm, crystal clear, shallow water filled to the bream with animals throughout the spring and summer Austral Season. As the clouds part after the cold and wet winter, the sun beams down and brings new life to the land and ocean. Busselton Whale Watching is at its peak during this warm season with new marine animal babies such as whales featuring!
We have been MUGGED by humpback whales of all age and sizes for the majority of our 2 hour tours and haven’t had to venture far from the shore at all! These whales are on their southbound journey – the second half of their 6-month migration. The last few months, humpback whales on the coast of Western Australia have travelled over 6,000kms to reach warmer waters in the north of Australia. Mating occurs along the way, travelling here to give birth while for the youngsters, well they’ve been hanging out helping to escort pregnant females and learn everything about the very important migration they must take each year. Here in Geographe Bay Busselton, we can observe a playful and inquisitive calf, with a resting mother not too far away. We also observe energetic whales, where breaching looks easy! It would take a huge effort to lift their 40 tonne body out of the water but they do it seemingly with ease, oh and a huge splash!
We have had three encounters of Dwarf Minke whales passing the boat which is extremely rare! With one exceptionally special occasion where the (usually skittish) 4-5m whale rolled upside down and circled the boat multiple times enabling us to get a great view of the cute little creature, which is also a FIRST for us! The waters have been extremely calm and glassy most days, creating incredible visibility deep into the water column which has enabled us to see these giants of the deep rise to the surface (so we can prepare for those perfect shots!) Whale watching in Geographe Bay, Busselton can have you witnessing whales in depths from 5 metres to 40 metres PLUS! More whales can be found in the shallow waters but the more playful and acrobatic whales are in the deeper water. This is because they can get a run up to boost themselves skywards. The deeper the whale can go, the more propulsion it has to break through the water’s surface, resulting in a breach.
On the Busselton whale watching tours we have also had bow riding dolphins on most tours which is always a nice little cherry on top after endless close encounters by our adult humpbacks! We are yet to see a southern right whale from the vessel so far this season and we look forward to the day!
Southern Right Whales are known to have a four year breeding cycle where they return to the same area where they were born, to give birth to their own young. This means that some years you will only see a handful of this species and other years multiple calving pairs can be observed from geographe bay busselton. These beautiful and slow creatures are very vulnerable as they slowly recover from whaling over 50 years ago! We hope to see more of this species in the future as they play an important role in the marine ecosystem. One of these roles is as a main facilitator in the carbon cycle, recycling nutrients back into the sea floor for many thousands of years to come! They also bring food via bacteria on their skin, which directly supplies food to fish and seabirds in the busselton region.
We also encountered a small humpback (only 1-2 years old) with a recent wound which seems to be the doing of killer whales as the rake markings around the flesh wound and scarring resemble orca teeth marks! The only known predator to humpback whales is a killer whale. The killers work in their family groups to hunt a small humpback whale, usually juvenile or calf. This occurrence seems to be increasing, potentially as humpback whale numbers increase. This particular poor juvenile has its dorsal fin missing and is still pink, indicating that the attack wasn’t too long ago!
We have had multiple confirmed orca sightings off Cape Naturaliste and all the way to Bunbury and even Perth now and they seem to be following the humpback migration in the attempt to seperate mother/calf pairs whilst they target the calves in order to break their jaw and only eat the tongue! Luckily this little guy got away and it may have been due to another larger humpback whale stepping in to defend the youngster! We hope this little guy heals and makes it back to the Antarctic feeding grounds!
Lastly, we had our first sightings of BLUE WHALES in the bay for the season on yesterdays afternoon tour! The awesome whale monitoring crew at Point Picquet were kind enough to give us the heads up that there was potentially a blue swimming past them, the large column-like blow and sleek body was a great indicator! We came across the blow which turned out to be TWO BLUES cruising past the Cape! These 25m+ animals are an awe inspiring sight and we can’t wait to keep you up to date with next weeks whale summary!!! It’s been a great first week in Geographe Bay!
We can’t wait to keep you up to date with next week’s whale summary!!! It’s been a great first week in Geographe Bay!