About Mills Perth Whale Watching Cruises
Whale Watching Perth.com is an Australian Marine Tourism Accredited Whale Watching Charter in Western Australia. We offer varied Whale Watching trips and eco-tour charters in Perth.
Book a Whale Watching cruise out of Perth on your own, with a few mates, or charter the whole boat for your work or private function. Years of whale migration route knowledge and experience will make sure that your day on the ocean is a truly memorable experience. At Whale Watching Perth we constantly strive to enhance an already excellent reputation within the Whale Watching cruise boat industry.
Whale Types Near Perth
Two main types of whales seen migrating past Perth are the humpback whale and the blue whale. The freezing waters off Antarctica are the summer home for many whale species. While there, the whales feed on the rich supply of krill (small prawn-like animals). In autumn, as the temperature falls and ice starts to cover the sea, many of the large whale species begin a long and hard migration northward to the warm waters off the Australian coast. Humpback and southern right whales follow a similar route each year, and many females make the journey while pregnant so that they can give birth in Australian waters.
How many whale species are found in Australian waters?
8 species of baleen whales (Blue, Fin, Sei, Bryde’s, Minke, Humpback, Southern Right, Pygmy);
35 species of toothed whale (including Sperm, Orca, Pilot, Melon, Strap-toothed, Beaked);
Nearly 60% of the world’s total number of whales, dolphins and porpoises are found in Australian waters.
Types of Whales
There are three (3) types of whales commonly seen from the shore in Australia:
1. Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena australis).
Southern right whales are robust and have a strongly arched mouth and long baleen plates. Large white bumps (callosities) occur on top of the head, along the edges of the lower jaw and above the eye. Southern right whales have no dorsal fin. The flippers are large and rounded, and the flukes have a broad, smooth rear margin separated by a deep notch.
The flukes are often lifted out of the water as the animal dives. Southern right whales are predominantly black, but some may have patches of white.
Absence of a dorsal fin; strongly arched mouth; large callosities on the head
Length: 13 to 18 metres, average 15 metres.
Southern right whales migrate to the southern coasts of Australia each winter. Because of their habit of calving or resting with young calves in shallow water just beyond the surf line, they are easily observed, particularly from headlands. The early whalers regarded the southern right whales as the ‘right’ whale to hunt. They are slow swimmers, float when dead, and yield much oil and baleen. Consequently, early whaling in Australia took large numbers of southern right whales, and now only a few hundred visit the Australian coast each year. The shapes of the white callosities on the head are unique for each individual and provide an easy means of identification. Southern right whales rarely strand.
2. Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)
Humpback whales have a stocky body with a broad head and long flippers up to one third of the total body length. The dorsal fin is small, often sitting on a ‘hump’ in the back. Knobby protuberances with bristle hair and often with barnacles growing on them, occur on the head, jaws and flippers. The lower jaw has a rounded projection near its tip. The rear margin of the tail flukes and the leading edge of the flippers are scalloped.
The body is black on the back and white underneath and sometimes on the sides. The flippers and underside of the tail flukes are usually white. The baleen plates are black.
Distinguishing whale features:
Long flippers; humped dorsal fin; knobby protuberances on the head, jaws and flippers; and the rounded projection near the tip of the lower jaw. Humpback whales often raise their tail flukes before diving.
Length: 14 to 19 metres, average 14 to 15 metres.
Humpback whales migrate from Antarctica to the sub-tropical coastal waters of Australia to give birth and mate during winter and spring. Consequently, whale watchers are most likely to see this species in the coastal waters of eastern and western Australia. Humpback whales frequently perform spectacular aerial leaps and ‘sing’ long complex ‘songs’ during the breeding season. Individuals can be identified from the colour pattern under the tail. Large numbers of humpback whales were taken by whaling operations on Norfolk Island and on the east and west coasts of Australia. Whaling for humpbacks ceased in 1963, and the populations appear to be recovering. Strandings of humpback whales have been reported from all States and the Northern Territory, however this does not occur very often as such whales are often dead already or very sick.
3. Killer Whale (Orca)
Killer whales are powerful and robust with large, broad, rounded flippers and 10 to 12 pairs of large conical teeth in each jaw. Adult males have a tall, erect dorsal fin which may be up to 1.8 metres high. In females, the dorsal fin is not as tall, and is slightly hooked.
The black and white pattern on killer whales is striking. On the back, they are black from the tip of the rostrum to the tail, with a white path above the eye, and a light grey saddle patch behind the dorsal fin. On the belly, white extends to the chin and branches into a white process on each side of the body. The underside of the flukes is also white.
Large dorsal fin (particularly large in males); striking black and white pattern , with a white patch behind the eye; a grey saddle patch.
Length: 8 to 9.5 metres (males are larger than females).
Killer whales are voracious predators. They hunt singly or in groups, feeding on fish, seals and other cetaceans. They are usually found in groups and are commonly seen in Australian waters, and occasionally close inshore. They sometimes strand on the Australian coast.