It is always great to see a humpback breeching, especially when they are close to the shore.
Sunday I saw 8 blue whales from the shore at Pt Picquet. Geographe Bay is probably the only place in the world that you can see these massive whales sometimes only 50m from shore.
Yesterday was even more eventful. I went to Cape Naturaliste early and in an hour and a half a blue whale and about 20 pods of humpbacks passed – probably 60 whales in total. Some were very close – 70-80 metres out (there are some offshore submerged rocks and this is about as close as they get. On the way home I called into Pt Picquet – 2 more blue whales. Later I received a call from some friends – they had been watching a blue whale and calf behaving erratically – changing course 7 times in an hour and going out to sea, and repeatedly coming back in. Normally they swim straight past from east to west at around 7-8 knots.
I went back out to Pt Picquet to see if I could see this whale. It had disappeared – they can dive and stay under for lengthy periods and travel a long way while under. However we located a Southern Right Whale 150m offshore. It was being accompanied by 2 humpbacks. Again this is unusual.
Just as we identified the Southern Right Whale, someone called out – forget the whales – photograph the shark! There was a 2.5m-3.0m bronze whaler about a metre from the waters edge moving slowly towards Eagle Bay. So after informing the authorities I had to go and warn the people swimming in its path.
This image was taken on the walk back from Cape Naturaliste. You can see Sugarloaf Rocks and Cape Clairault in the background.
I have included this composite image for anyone curious as to what a blue whale looks like. They are fairly uninteresting – they never breach and one of these views is all you can see. At any time only about 1/4 of the body is showing, so it is difficult to appreciate their size. These images are of two whales – at first we thought there was only one because they were rising alternately. I was trying to match the body shots to the head to the head shots – that is why I created this image.
It is the height of the humpback whale migration south at the moment. Plus there are a number of blue whales passing by. Yesterday a mother calf pair of humpbacks seemed to be inspecting the coastline and they passed Pt Picquet less than 30m from the shore. They dawdled past Eagle Bay and when they went past Rocky Point they were still just outside the line of rocks in the shallows. The calf was pretty excited, continuously doing tail slaps. Here are some images.
To cap off the day two pairs of blue whales passed within 300 metres of the shore at Pt Picquet later in the day.
There’s nothing like backing up to the fire on a chilly evening.
These are gorgeous large orchids. They are listed as critically endangered, and estimates are that the total population is 276 plants (2008). They are flowering beautifully at the moment.
This shot was obtained by focus stacking 42 individual shots, changing the focus slightly between each shot (this was done automatically). As it was windy, the flower kept moving substantially, and I had to align the images by hand. The easiest way was to open all the images as layers and create a new layer and place some red dots on it at places that were easily identified. You need multiple spots as as the focus changes some features become unrecognisable. Then you just align the individual layers to the spots. Once aligned I used Photoshop to do the blending (automatically!).