Landscape Photographer from the South West of Western Australia

Archive for September 20, 2013

Southern White Whale

I went to Meelup today and saw these Southern Right Whales. These are rare, and endangered – estimates are that there are fewer than 4-5000 worldwide. They move north from May-June on because the calves when born have no fat and wouldn’t survive the Antartic waters. Southern Right Whales must have more blubber than humpbacks because they don’t go as far north as the humpbacks. They can’t stand the heat, and most go to the Great Australian Bite. Some come north into Geographe Bay and they are very special. It is extremely rare for them to be sighted north of Rottnest, although one was seen at Cottesloe beach a week ago.
If these whales are rare then this calf is even rarer – it is mostly white. I am told it is not an albino as it is not completely white. But it is a Southern WHITE whale.
When they come into Geographe Bay they seem to play (or chase baitfish). These two were playing for a long time in Castle Rock Bay until they were disturbed by the whale watching boat. The boat did nothing wrong – maintained the correct distances etc, but the whales were disturbed and moved off towards Dunsborough past Castle Rock. As I was on top of Castle Rock waiting for them I can’t complain, but it is worrying that everytime these whales settle in, they get disturbed.
Mother and child
Here are some closeups.
SRW - closeup
Looking around