Rottnest Island Whale Watching on our first whale watch experience for Spring 2020 as we found ourselves surrounded by curious Humpback Whales and an extremely friendly Cormorant!
Our first encounter was with a quiet pod of two juveniles who were observing everything around them with interest and listening in to the older whales further to our starboard side. Pec slapping began as a female was trying to call out and receive some attention from the others.
The adults no more than 100 meters away from her decided a couple of powerful tail lobs would send a strong message across that they weren’t overly interested in the company.
Understanding that was an interaction not going to eventuate, she decided we looked rather interesting instead. Breaching beautifully, she landed with an enormous splash as she began pec slapping her way towards us with enthusiasm. Eventually she made her way towards the bow and would curiously resurface closer and closer each time, but we still weren’t a suitable pod mate for her. She resumed pec slapping in hopes of finding another lone traveller in the area and we wished her well on her continued search.
A very cheeky and extremely confident young Pied Cormorant decided we looked like the perfect landing spot and tried to gracefully land on the Steep Point but wasn’t successful in a few attempts that were made. Instead landing in the water right next to us was the next best option and those beautiful blue eyes looked back up at everyone onboard, such special little birds they are. Fluke slapping and big peduncle slaps up ahead had us very interested to see what was happening in this active pod of Humpback Whales in the shallows. Upon arriving, all three Humpbacks surfaced to look directly back towards us.
It was play time for this social pod who were twisting and turning, dancing together and trying to mimic each others movements. If only we could call out to our female Humpback earlier on, we had found the perfect pod for her! Instead, these three whales decided to welcome us into the pod and approached ever so curiously towards the bow. Spy hopping gracefully as they tried to get a better view of us before resuming back to that wonderful Humpback Whale waltz as Rottnest Island whale watching was enjoyed and we welcomed these playful whales back to their resting grounds off Perth.
Note the Orca attack scars on the female and part of her dorsal missing, this is the area Orca attack on cetaceans bigger than them to sever the spinal cord prior to drowning them, not something we like to report but have seen this same behaviour when they attack juvenile Blue Whales as well.
This lucky Lady escaped and now is of a size that should hold her in good stead going forward, but they must always be on guard.
-Whale Watch Western Australia
This post was adapted from a blog, read the original here