Whale Watchers Newsletter No.9
“Sail-A-Way” Albany Whale Tours
Whale Watch Newsletter No 9: 10 July 2012
King George Sound is a wildlife winter honeypot, protected from north, west and south winds. A sheltered amphitheatre for a play where the humans are invisible players riding on a boat across a stage – a storm swept, sunny sparkle…. or rolling sheet of lead.
Humpbacks at Albany – living up to their name with a sense of urgency.
I went back over my records and sure enough, this happened this time last year too. The whales have changed their behaviour. Now, when we find whales – and our wonderful spotter Chester, watching from on high does so every day – we don’t take long to come into their company. Frenzied whale aggression leaves vivid white scars on the surface skin of ocean blue. Before those waves subside, another tear in ocean’s colour appears, perhaps 100 metres away.
The 30 ton whales, leaving this tumult, dash on – in packs of 6 or 7 - moving at 14 or so kilometres per hour. To breathe, they lunge headlong, free of water, breathing in before a furious spurt of toxic carbon dioxide from their blowholes. Generally they are driving into the Sound as Sail-A-Way motor-sails south. The result….an intersect of whale and humans – the whales completely involved in their chase of each other ….the humans motionless, silent, enthralled, as the careless whales…100 or so tons of them, drive past, often only metres away.
These adults, fairly late to arrive in Albany, are in the mating migration north….and to the side and behind the pack….smaller Humpback juveniles, keep out of harm’s way in slower, less frenzied grace.
This week, as well as the more mature Humpbacks, Southern Rights have started to drift in. Just like last year – the first to come are juveniles – perhaps one year old, silently, warily, creeping in.
I don’t think Humpbacks and Southern Rights like each other….different species relying on the same food source seldom do.
I wonder what happens next!!!