Whale Watching from the Broadwater Parklands is a fantastic way to take in the sights of the beautiful Gold Coast Broadwater before heading out to the Humpback Whale sighting grounds. Today there were multiple pods making a steady journey past Surfers Paradise including a couple of whales heading south. Generally we will find that these early southbound whales are curious males backtracking in search of females, younger whales who migrated north much earlier than the others or newly pregnant females keen on returning back to Antarctica as soon as possible to begin feeding in preparation for the arrival of their new calf next year. A mother, her calf and a male escort moved past the seaway firstly this morning and they were on a mission. Their close proximity to much recreational vessel traffic unfortunately caused jet skis and a few recreational boats to approach the pod very quickly. The vessels all came too close to the family pod which caused them to increase speed and the calf picked up on mums defensive energy. The little one began to head lunge defensively in response showing that even though this calf is less than two weeks old the little one is already understanding defensive body language.
It was good to see them push up into the Marine Park to ensure they were able to create a bigger reactionary distance from the following vessels and jet ski. It is very important to treat all wildlife with respect and ensure a comfortable reactionary distance is achieved at all times. The extra pressure placed on the whales for an individuals few short moments of selfies or an extremely close and forced interaction can have great adverse affects on Humpback Whales. Increased weight lost, less time resting and avoidance of the area in the future are all results of whales who are harassed. Humpbacks are peaceful, gentle and curious creatures who should not need to fear or avoid vessels as this is not in their nature and they will only act in this way if treated disrespectfully. Our family Whale Watch all year round with multiple species in Western Australia and Queensland with our research continuing to document how populations of whales and dolphins around Australia react and respond to vessel traffic and recreational vessel harassment that can result in migrational pattern changes.
The afternoon was a change of pace as a competition pod began to rumble off the coastline as resting pods remained closer to the coast. The female had the attention of two large bachelor males who were following her closely in the deeper water. She was challenging them to see who would be the most suitable mate and it is always fascinating to watch as these competitive pods unfold. Bottlenose Dolphins this morning and Common Dolphins this afternoon completed another fun day whale watching from the Broadwater Parklands on the Gold Coast.