Today’s whale watch was very special... We often get humpback whales come over to the boat to check us out, they are very curious animals. But it’s not often that they then hang around for over one hour, interacting with us and people watching just as much as we’re whale watching!
That’s what happened today! We had barely made it to the northern end of Moreton Island before these two whales spotted us and made a beeline straight towards us! It was a mother with a two- or three-year-old youngster and they were VERY interested in us. They swum up to within touching distance of the boat and stayed with us for over an hour! We just sat still with our engines off, while they swam around us in slow circles, looking at us from all angles, sticking their heads above the water (a behaviour called spyhopping), turning on their sides at the surface to look at us.... it was just incredible! These whales have highly developed senses such as eye sight and hearing – they can see and hear us very clearly above as well as below the water. They also have so-called tubercles which are the bumps you can see on their heads. Each one of those bumps contains a single hair follicle and these are sensory hairs just like the whiskers of a cat. So they can probably feel things like water temperature, water pressure, currents etc. And when spyhopping or sticking their heads above the water they can probably also feel wind speed, air temperature and things like that. Maybe they also pick up the vibrations of our boat and get intrigued by those?
Whatever it was, we certainly captured the attention of these two whales and for us it was a very special experience to interact with an intelligent, curious animal that size for such a long time!
Eco Ranger Ina