What Are We Currently Seeing
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WEEKEND WHALEYYY HIGHLIGHTS: Happy little humpback calves were the main attraction on every tour this weekend! One of the most entertaining moments was when three shearwaters became the target practice for a mother teaching her calf how to breach! The mother tail slapped to swipe the birds and the calf proceeded to roll over, attempting to pec slap them with its floppy little fin! (no birds were harmed in the process)! Shearwaters 1, humpbacks 0. Another highlight was yesterday afternoon out near the Cape! We rolled as we over the swell with almost no wind as we encountered 4 blue whales cruise out to the depths! The large exhales were what caught our attention, often hearing the blue whales before sighting them on the silky grey surface!! #wanderoutyonder #whalewatching ... See MoreSee Less
The past weekend consisted of the calmest, balmy seas, calf cuteness, a bunch of breaches AND BLUES, blues, blues aaaand more BLUES!!!! At this stage of the humpback migration we're gifted with the presence of the beautiful mothers and calves! AND over the past few days we've also sighted the FIRST blue whale mother and calves for the season! The blue whale calves are born at over 3 tons and a whopping 7m in length!!! Bring on the final month of whale watching here in Geogrpahe Bay, be sure to join us while the whales are still coming in HOT and (very) heavy! #wanderoutyonder #whalewatching #ocean #wa ... See MoreSee Less
Naturaliste Charters Whale Watching is at Naturaliste Charters Whale Watching.
6 months ago
ABC News coverage on the blue whales numbers! Want to encounter the worlds largest animal from SHORE, or even better from a whale watching vessel?! October is currently the BEST month to wittness these incredible ocean giants. Numbers for september have been unprecedented here in Geographe Bay, Dunsborough. These picturesque waters are also considered the most reliable, calm and affordable place to encoutner blue whales here in Australia! Researchers and whale-watchers have been lucky enough to encounter pods of 10-15 blue whales at once, with the closest sighting being less than 100m from shore!!! When you join Naturaliste Charters you'll be awe inspired by the enormity of the largest animasl to ever exist! All whilst a marine biologist provides you with knowledgeable commentary whist they collect real time data throughout the tour. We're also lucky enough to work closely with the researchers and land-based whale monitors from Western Whale Research who work from dawn to dust to count and collate crucial information on not only blue whales, but all species of whales that migrate through geographe bay- ensuring these populations are correctly protected and sustained. By joining the team on a tour you're enabling this imperative research to continue! ... See MoreSee Less
Big swell, BIGGER WHALE!
We celebrated Earth Day in style today! Our typical visiting cetaceans were present and accounted for - Long Finned Pilot Whales and Sperm Whales. With multiple encounters of both these species throughout the day. We even spied a small pod of beaked whales momentarily before they surfed the swell and dived back down again. These elusive marine mammals are known for being very quiet and they didn’t even stay to have their picture taken. Notable absence once again were our black and white sea panda friends, Orca. We searched high and low over almost 100 nautical mile and found no trace of them. Luckily we were distracted with other wildlife!
The action really kicked off just 2pm. A Sooty Albatross started the excitement! My personal favourite pelagic bird - they are so cute! With their big cartoon eye and big chocolate coloured body. I flew on our six o’clock, soaring in our slipstream. It was also looking for orca, where it would then feed opportunistically on any snacks left by them.
A large blow on the horizon at the hotspot caught our attention, appearing large we assumed Sperm Whale from a distance. We meandered over as it was in the general direction of home. We jokingly mentioned it could be a Blue Whale because of the height it reached. Not quite big enough for a blue, but we were not expecting to find what was responsible for it!
On approach we found False Killer Whales with a swirl of birds above. They were uncharacteristically friendly! Coming straight for our vessel just like orca do. They hung around us, with some still off in the distance fishing. Bottlenose dolphins were here too. All of these animals were mingling together but little did we expect what unfolded next. The almost 3 metre swell was creating for a fun atmosphere with BIG gentle rolling waves. They might have been big, but our next whale was bigger…
A FIN WHALE…! My oh my. The big blow we spied earlier belonged to this baleen fellow.
In the history of our tours out here in Bremer, we have only had this privilege once before. Fin whales come in second for biggest whale, only after the Blue whale. They are filter feeding, with asymmetrical pattering on their lower jaw. This means that one side is white and one dark blue!!
The fin was chaperoned by two friendly false killers, who appeared to be playing and socialising together! A chance encounter and luckily for us the whales hung around our vessel for over an hour ensuring plenty of photo opportunities. How lucky are we that our Earth gives us magical moments like this.
Note Below: Pilot whales have a white marking near their eye and the false killers lack this and are dark grey all over. Both are pictured here.
Photographs by our photographer Machi Yoshida. 🐋💙 ... See MoreSee Less
A chance encounter with a fin whale socialising with two false killer whales today in the Bremer Canyon. A perfect way to celebrate Earth Day.
Check out our blog and photos for more infomation!
Imagery captured by sharkyaerials under Riggs Australia permits. ... See MoreSee Less
Today's expedition felt like two completely seperate days!
An almost glass-off morning full of sunshine and feeding animals turned to grey skies and grey water not long after lunch.
Our commute to the hotspot was interrupted by a BLUE WHALE! This mighty giant was travelling along with two other friends not too far behind. We managed to snap a couple identification photos, all in the name of science 🙂 The beast continued on at pace so we continued on our path!
We were greeting with feeding pilots and a sperm whale to keep our searching momentum going. However at midday a front rolled through with light showers for the most part of a few hours! The eery feeling was overwhelming especially when a larger cargo ship was barely visible off in the distance motoring past.
Through the mist, a male orca dorsal was spotted but it disappeared sub-surface before any other trace was left! The conditions were now on the difficult end of the spectrum to find animals, although we love a challenge!
Another spermie appeared suddenly in front of us! A large smelly oil slick rose to surface moments after him suggesting he was mid-feed. Rebreathing and resting, while his body digested its squid lunch and replenished oxygen stores. A long back arch and tail up, but this descent was out of the ordinary. This spermy was "offloading" a bit of weight as a big green ploom of digested squid was defecated and left behind at the surface.
It was a day for the birders with 10 species in total sighted:
Black Brow Albatross
Yellow nose Albatross
Great winged Petrel (a winter visitor)
Soft Plumaged Petrel (winter visitor)
and the cherry on top -->
Light Mantled Sooty Albatross ... See MoreSee Less
A day without orca.... we are having withdrawals!!
After spending hours looking out to sea for the smallest of orca tell-tale signs, our encounters with multiple sperm whales and two large pods of pilots whales helped keep us sane.
With four large bull, male sperm whales relaxing at the surface they were recovering from their deep dark dives, prepping to go again. With a final big inhale, we breathed in too. The beautiful slow back arch, showing each knobbly bone on their peduncle (tail stalk) leading down to the heavy thick tail. It is raised vertically to ensure a long slow decent downwards towards squid territory.
The pilot whales were as cute as ever! Plenty of small calves were swimming along close to their mums. They are distinctive since their tiny silver bullet bodies show foetal folds, light grey lines running vertical from dorsal to ventral side. One was particularly curious about our vessel. It continually brought its body higher and higher out of the water on each breath. We could even see its eye looking at us!
A soft-plumaged petrel and various species of Albatross joined us on our expedition today. With the winds getting colder, one ably looked to be snuggling into its plumage for extra warmth, we felt the same snuggling down into our beanies and wind breaker jackets. ... See MoreSee Less
After many hours on the water today, we unfortunately headed home without catching a glimpse of the main attraction, orca.
Although orca-less, our day certainly wasn’t without wildlife. Pilot Whales kept us entertained in the morning while we encountered energetic striped dolphins at midday and then a lone bull sperm whale in the afternoon.
Squalls of light rain whooshed past us, and on the horizon were more patches of this same weather. It provided an epic moody backdrop, with a waterspout appearing at one point! A waterspout is a vortex or column of water connecting the ocean to the clouds above. Basically like a mini cyclone. Ours juuuuust touched, enough for Machi to get a legendary photograph.
The highlight would have to be the striped dolphins. An easy 200 individuals were busting out of the surface, giving an appearance of boiling water! Every so often one particularly boisterous dolphin would propel itself easily 2 or so meters into the air! Wriggling it’s body for maximum hang time, it would “free Willy” back into the water almost 10 meters from take off. Like popcorn going off, they couldn't be contained to their fluid home. Some even jumping higher than the shearwaters were flying!
We try again tomorrow where we will have a sunshine filled day! ... See MoreSee Less
What we are currently seeing Whale Watching
Naturaliste Charters Whale Watching Expeditions run all year round !
Bremer Canyon Killer Whale Expeditions – From January to April, our full day expeditions visit the Bremer Canyon, one of the least explored places on earth, and the only place in Australia you can reliably encounter killer whales (orca), the ocean’s undisputed apex predator.
Your expedition along with seeing the Killer whales (Orca) you may also see pods of long-finned pilot whales, sperm whales, a rare beaked whale and the largest animal to ever have lived, the blue whale. You can also admire the acrobatics of large pods of bottlenose, striped, and common dolphins, and encounter shark species that include great whites, whaler sharks, and the beautiful oceanic blue, a species never seen from shore. Enormous oceanic sunfish surface, disc shaped bodies sometimes 2 meters across. The remains of giant squid sometimes float on the surface, a predator of the deep reduced to scraps, squabbled over by an astonishing array of pelagic seabirds including albatross, shearwater and petrel species. Rare species are sighted each season, including the Barau’s and Black-Bellied Storm Petrel. The Bremer Canyon is a place like no other on the planet. Your experience like no other in your life…
Augusta Whale Watching Eco Tours – From May to August, humpback whales visit the south west of Western Australia as they undertake their annual migration, an incredible journey from the feeding grounds of Antarctica to the warm waters of Australia’s north west and beyond to breed and calve. Our locations span the scenic south west, and as a result we have the longest whale migration season anywhere in the world.
From May, humpback whales arrive at the scenic seaside town of Augusta. Competitive, curious and acrobatic, this is whale watching at it’s most dramatic and spectacular. Rare blue, minke and fin whales are also sighted on occasion as they too make the epic trek north. From July, endangered southern right whales also arrive, giving birth to their calves in the protected waters of Flinders Bay.
Busselton and Dunsborough Whale Watching Eco Tours – From Septemeber to Early Dec as spring arrives, the whales retrace their steps south. The southern migration is special. In the protective care of their mothers, calves leave their birthplace in the tropical north and make the epic trek to Antarctic waters for the first time, an incredible journey for a baby just months old. The calm, protected waters of Geographe Bay offer a welcome respite to the weary wanderers, an opportunity to rest before crossing an entire ocean for the first time. The humpbacks arrive first, followed by regular sightings of blue whales from October through to early December.