Language of the Queensland Whales

Language of the Queensland whales is important to learn and understand when interacting with the Humpback Whales who migrate along our coastline. A beautiful morning greeted us as we departed Cavill Avenue and enjoyed the lovely sights of the peaceful Nerang River before making our way out into the hustle and bustle of the Broadwater. It was a busy day as many enjoyed the perfect weather conditions and made the most of the weekend. A lofty blow on the horizon indicated that a pod was on the move and making their way north and as we joined with them we could see that we had an escort pod. The pod was relaxed and travelling north as the male kept a close eye on his female.

The fluke of every Humpback Whale is unique to that individual and can be used to identify them with today’s male having a distinctive black dot that will be very helpful for future identification. The pod had attracted a large crowd of recreational vessels and unfortunately many of the vessels were approaching the pod too closely and stopping in front of their pathway of travel. There are strict rules and regulations for correct whale interactions to ensure migrating whales can pass by the coast peacefully. Due to the erratic movement of the vessels closest to the whales the male became defensive and launched into powerful tail lobbing. A language that means, “move away” as he tried to clear a bigger reactionary distance around himself and his female.

The female Humpback had noticed a pod further ahead of us and as her male was defensive she became flirty. Lifting her enormous pectorals high they gracefully fell to the surface as she called out to try and attract the attention of bachelor males in the vicinity. Settling back into travel mode they continued to make their way north and we wished them well for their journey ahead. Bottlenose and Common Dolphins escorted us on our way back towards Surfers Paradise to complete a wonderful morning. The afternoon was just as lovely as the warm sun and light breeze made for a perfect afternoon out on the water. Three blows appeared together, two large and strong and one much smaller. It was a mother and her calf who were moving very quickly as they were being followed by a very enthusiastic male Humpback Whale.

He was excited to have found the mother whale in hopes of a mating opportunity. The mother whale ensured she kept her calf clear of the male but it took a lot of work as she often had to stop, pivot and push her calf on her back away from his close approaches. The chase went for a long time and the calf did a wonderful job of keeping up, mum always making sure she kept her calf very close. The male eventually started to settle and with his relaxed demeanour the female was able to slow her swimming and settle her calf. It took a while but eventually all three began to swim together as one happily and it was nice to know that he was now acting as bodyguard for mother and calf.

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