What better way to spend your summer than on the open waters of the Australian seas? Australia offers a unique experience to its residents that many other countries don’t get the luxury of experiencing: humpback whale migration.
When Do Humpback Whales Migrate?
Thousands of humpback whales migrate from the Antarctic waters during the summer months all the way to the northern NSW and Queensland region in order to breed. During their northern migration, they come past Sydney, typically from May to August. Finally, they return to their original waters in their southern migration during the months of August to November.
What most Australians may not realise is that fifty percent of the world’s whales live or at least pass through Australia. This gives residents the ability to see many different species of marine life when they go whale watching in Sydney.
What Does a Typical Whale Watch Consist of?
Whale watches last for around two to three hours, in which participants can see a variety of whales, dolphins, and other marine life. Additionally, the boat offers 360-degree viewing so no matter where you’re standing, you have a straight view of the water. This means that fighting for deck space won’t be a problem.
While out on the water, you may be concerned that whales or the ocean are being harmed. Whale watch companies, however, always make sure to educate their participants on the importance of preserving marine life and they always take utmost care to make sure that no whales are harmed in the process.
What Kinds of Behaviours Might I Witness on the Water?
Humpback whales exhibit a variety of unique behaviours. Humpbacks have actually been nicknamed the acrobats of the oceans because of all the fancy tricks they do. It is important to realise that these behaviours are natural behaviours and not due to training on the part of the whale watching company.
One popular behaviour that whales exhibit is pectoral fin slapping. This happens when the whale uses both of its pectoral fins to slap the water at the same time. This is thought to serve two purposes. First, it cleans the pectorals of any parasites that might be living there. Secondly, whales may use this slap as a form of communication with other whales.
Another common behaviour is tail slapping. When you see a whale slapping its tail on the surface of the water, it may be delivering a warning of some kind. Not all tail behaviours are warnings, though. Whales sometimes like to dive into the water with their tail fluke up. These tail flukes, or the underside of the tail, are as individual as our fingerprints. This behaviour is not seen as a warning behaviour.
Some whales may also perform in a behaviour called spy hopping. This is when the whales poke up above the surface of the water to check what is going on. You may even be lucky enough to see a whale breach during your whale watch. This happens when the whale comes completely up out of the water and crashes back into it. Some believe this to be a form of communication among whales while others think that they are cleaning their bodies of parasites. No matter which behaviours you get to witness, it is sure to offer a unique and once-in-a-lifetime experience.