Monday Afternoon 28/9/2020: blog by Marine Biologist Brooke Lloyd.
On our way out to the Humpback highway this afternoon I was chatting with the wonderful Belinda (who has named our toy Humpback on board Sally) and she was telling me all of the lucky encounters she has had with lions and dolphins, and god she was good luck! Once we hit the common 30m depth, we were greeted by a mum and her tiny calf breaching! Mum was teaching her little one how to breach and it was adorable! This was definitely not the last breach of the day, not even close. We probably had in total over 15 breaches this afternoon from whales close and further off in the horizon. These whales were definitely communicating via breaching and pectoral fin slapping. While watching mum and bub have fun, there were whales further out pectoral fin and tail slapping. After watching mum and bub breach together there was commotion on the other side of the boat as a large adult whale breached right by the bow, TWICE! We all got to the point where we didn’t know to look, breaches at 10 o’clock, then at 2 and whales behind us at 5! Almost all of the humpback behaviours were seen this afternoon; breaching, pec slapping, tail lobbing and even chin slapping! Chin slapping has been associated with aggressive behaviour so maybe there were some predators coming too close for comfort? It was interesting to note that these more active whales were in a bit deeper water today, around 38m. After all the events of this afternoon it is really hard to sum it up within a blogpost! To top it off on the way back in we even saw another whale breaching by the boat! WHAT AN AFTERNOON.