These students were on an excursion having travelled down to Meelup by bus. They were kayaking along the coast and stopped and rafted up just off Pt Picquet. 3 curious humpback whales came in to investigate. They went between the raft up, turned and swam out to sea under the kayaks. What an experience!
I didn’t post this immediately it happened as I didn’t want all the kayakers in Western Australia trying to do the same thing. There is always an element of danger (apart from it being illegal to approach whales this close. When under the kayakers the whales panicked and accelerated out to sea. However all’s well that ends well.
(These kayakers did not approach the whales – the whales approached them so they did not breach (pun intended) the whale watching rules).
It has been a late start to the whale watching season. The humpbacks are late arriving but fortunately the Southern Right Whales have kept us entertained. These humpbacks were playing just off Castle Rock this morning. (These drone images have been taken under a DPAW permit).
You can just make out a pair of Southern Right Whales in the upper left corner.
Recently the Southern Rights have been passing time in Geographe Bay.
We are starting to see some whales.
I originally found this mother-calf pair of Southern Right Whales at the Other Side of the Moon (a surf break just south of Cape Naturaliste). I think these were the pair seen in Dunsborough and Meelup yesterday. (These are an endangered species and we see a few coming around Cape Naturaliste each year). They were moving very slowly south, but enjoying a few waves even though they weren’t very good at it. A pod of dolphins were keeping them company.
They slowly moved south eventually reaching Sandpatches (the bay just north of Sugarloaf Rock). The dolphins met up with the pair again, and encouraged the calf to follow them closer inshore. They seemed to be interacting with the calf. Mum followed the calf. The calf enjoyed the surf but really didn’t get this surfing thing.
So the dolphins gave some demonstrations.
At one point a dolphin started flapping its tail on the surface.
The calf thought this was a good idea and began flapping its pectoral fin.
Some attempts at surfing didn’t go well.
The dolphins were close by offering advice. This is mum in the foreground and she has a white blaze on her back – something I haven’t seen before.
By this time the calf was getting into it. Mum is there as well.
But mum and the calf kept missing the waves. I don’t think they could accelerate fast enough.
More lessons from the dolphins were in order.
The calf appreciated the advice.
And tried again.
But no matter how hard they tried mother and calf could not catch a wave.
The dolphins stayed with the pair of whales for about 5 hours.
This was an amazing experience. Tourists were taking selfies and ignoring what was happening just offshore. And a cold wind came in from the north – eventually I had to leave to avoid having my joints seize up! They were still playing together when I left.
I went to Sandpatches this morning. A pod of 20 or more dolphins were playing in the surf. After watching them for a while I decided that they were going to stay in the area for some time and it was worth climbing down to the beach. Often when I do this I find that just as I get to the beach the dolphins are disappearing. Today they stayed and it is no wonder. There was lots of touchy-feely behavior going on, and it seemed the boys were chasing the girls. When this happens they also seem to enjoy catching a few waves, and today was no exception. My suspicions about the boy – girl behavior were confirmed when I saw these photographs. It seemed the boys were excited. You can see what I mean here.
In between chasing girls the dolphins managed to catch a wave or two. Hmm – not that much different from the human surfers.
The dolphins were at Yallingup today and eventually decided that this wave was worth catching.
All the top surfers are here for the Margaret River Pro. Here is a local getting some practice.
This was taken at Sandpatches. For some reason the dolphins have been avoiding Sandpatches this year although I frequently photograph them at other places up and down the coast. Perhaps there has been no food in this bay?