You know the Dunsborough Whale Watching season has started when you can feel that spring is in the air, the ocean has calmed down after many winter storms, you see the wildflowers alive with colour and in full bloom and when you receive the ecstatic phone calls from many people in the area with the excitement in their voice, “I SAW WHALES IN THE BAY”.
Dunsborough is one of the best locations to see whales in the wild
If you have ever dreamed of seeing whales in the wild, then Dunsborough is one of the best locations in Australia to experience this. Imagine calm bays, turquoise waters that glisten in the sun, beautiful rock formations and an elegant coastline. Sounds like the perfect backdrop already doesn’t it! Now add in the fact that this very same bay being Geographe Bay see’s thousands of whales migrate through each and every year!
There are a few different variants of whales in the bay that are often sighted during the whale season but our favourite one to watch would be the agile Humpback Whales. The Humpback whales are a species of baleen whale, they are known to be inquisitive, graceful and the males are known to sing songs that last for 10-20 minutes then repeat them for hours on end! Humpback whales can be sighted breaching, spy hopping, lunging, tail slapping, they really are a joy to see!
Other species of whales in the bay that can be sighted are the Blue Whales, Southern Right Whales and we even come across minke whales!
We are now in September and the Dunsborough Whale Watching season has started with tours departing twice daily (10am & 2pm) from the Pro Fisherman’s Boat Ramp, which is located just a 5-minute drive from town in Quindalup. Whales can be sighted anytime in the area from around August – December but tours are only offered in Dunsborough from September – November. (If you want to see whales during the winter then Augusta is the place to go!)
An incredible start to our Whale Watching Season
We are stoked to be back up and running in our hometown Dunsborough and safe to say we have had an incredible start to our Whale Watching season already! The past week of Whale Watching in Dunsborough has been absolutely mind blowing, so good that I don’t quite know where to start in explaining it!!
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 through 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 weighs up to 180 tonnes and is 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 20M Catamaran Whale Watching 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!
More Winke whales this season alone than the rest combined
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!!!
Dolphin encounters on our tours
We’ve also been SUPER lucky with our dolphin encounters on our tours. We were super fortunate to be 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!!!
To see such an incredible array of whales in the bay so early in the season, it really does have us excited on what the remainder of the season will bring.
Did you know that we also offer sunset whale watching tours? These depart on demand at 4.30pm and require a minimum of 10 passengers to confirm the tour. It is a beautiful tour that generally ends with a jaw dropping sunset that will have you in awe and YES you will see whales! This is a more casual experience and you are welcome to bring a drink and some nibbles along to really make the most of your sunset tour in Geographe Bay. Be sure to bring warm clothing as it can cool off quite quickly!
We look forward to welcoming you on board!
If you are interested in experiencing a Dunsborough Whale Watching tour you can find more information on our webpage https://www.whales-australia.com.au/dunsboroughwhalewatching/ or you are welcome to call our friendly office team who will be happy to assist with any queries you may have. We very much look forward to welcoming you on board and showcasing the majestical whales in Geographe Bay!