The world population of all whale species has been steadily recovering since the late 1970s, when Save the Whales was founded by a schoolgirl and we are happy to report that there are no longer any whales on the critically endangered list. People have educated themselves regarding the whale, indeed, the whale watching sector is booming, especially along the West Coast of Australia, where the Humpbacks migrate to and from the Great Barrier Reef to their feeding grounds in Antarctica.
While we know very little about the whale when it is in deep water, we have studied their amazing surface behaviours, and, with that in mind, here are a few of the actions you are likely to see when you go whale watching in Eden.
- Blow – This is when the whale exhales through a hole on the top of the head, which closes as the whale submerges and when the whale comes up for oxygen, it spouts water spray high into the air.
- Fluke Dive – The fluke is the tail and when the whale powers down, its tail is raised out of the water. The fluke can be either up or down and we aren’t sure why the whales like to do this.
- Pec Slap – The whale lays on its side and slaps the water hard with one of its pectoral fins; some people think they are waving to the people on the boats, but marine scientists lean towards the theory that pec slapping removing parasites that might gather on the fin.
- Breach – The biggie for the whale watcher, when the animal breaches, some or all of its body leaves the water, to come crashing back down. In order to do this, the whale must dive down far enough, then power their huge fluke to send them right out of the water. The reasons for this might be that they are playing; whales exhibit the same playfulness as dolphins, or that they wish to see what’s happening around them.
- Tail Slap – One of the most spectacular of the Humpback Whale’s many actions, the tail slap occurs when the whale positions itself vertically in the water, lifting its tail out, then slapping it against the surface. Scientists keep an open mind as to why they do this, but most believe that, like the pec slap, this is one way to remove parasites that collect on the fluke.
If you are in NSW between May and October, this is the whale watching season and with an online booking, you can experience a close-up encounter with many of these majestic creatures.