Landscape Photographer from the South West of Western Australia

Archive for May 28, 2013

A Whale of a Tale

Two days ago I saw a whale breaching from the lookout at the top of the hill at Canal Rocks – it seemed to be just south of Three Bears, so I went to Sugarloaf Rock to have a look. When I got there I saw what appears to be a baby humpback breaching every few minutes. He was getting tired and his jumps became less energetic as time went on, but he was at least splashing all the time up until I lost sight.

I followed him visually from Sugarloaf – he was getting further out and heading north (probably 1km off shore when I left Sugarloaf). Eventually I went around to the “Other Side of the Moon” carpark just south of Cape Natualiste and walked north until I was about 500m from Cape Naturaliste. When I got there he had come in close to shore and was rounding Cape Naturaliste heading east into Geographe Bay.

The shot showing the tail was taken looking north across the tip of Cape Naturaliste.

At that point I lost sight.

At no time did I sight any other whales so this little guy was on his own, and my interpretation of his breaching is that he was trying to let his mother know where he was. It is possible he was successful – once north of Cape Naturaliste he changed course dramatically from due north to due east. Up until that time he would not have been able to “hear” anything coming from Geographe Bay, so it is possible he heard a whale in the bay and began heading towards it. (I like to think this is the case and he met up with mum again eventually!).

This raises some interesting questions (apart from whether he eventually caught up with his mum). What is a calf doing so far south at this time – he was 1500km from where he should be? Where did mum get to? (If he didn’t find her his prospects are very poor. Lets hope he was successful).

This is the third sighting of whales in Geographe Bay in April May this year – very unusual.

Baby Humpback off Sugarloaf Rocks

Baby Humpback off Sugarloaf Rocks

(I apologize that the photos are poor but he was a long way out. 400mm in a telephoto only goes so far!)

UPDATE: Apparently mum and baby were reunited – two days later a mother and calf were seen in Geographe Bay off Rocky Point.