Whale Watching

Kalbarri is again witnessing the annual migration of Humpback whales which goes from June to November. An estimated 35.000 whales will pass the Western Australian coastline on their return journey from Antarctic to the warm northern waters.

Humpback whales’ north bound migration seems to be further off shore, during that time they move along quite quickly but their south bound migration is much closer to the coast and a much slower process with Whales hanging around and enjoying the warmer waters. As the ocean floor off Kalbarri stays quite deep all the way up to the coastline and with it’s bays and it’s accessible cliffs it gives visitors a unique advantage of amazing coastal sightings and makes Kalbarri the best place in WA to see Humpback whales.

 

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Baby whales in Kalbarri

We see a lot of mothers and calves, some of the babies are still light grey which means they are very young and have been born in our area. There are two surprising things about whales calves. The first is that they put on about 60kg a day during feeding. The second is that these little fatties go to preschool. Kalbarri is a great place to see these giant water babies at play.

Its boot camp for the calves. In the calm, protected waters the calves learn the life skills needed to make the long return journey to the Antarctic.

The mechanics of spy-hopping, tail slapping and breaching are taught and practiced, as well as tail lobbing, flipper slapping and head standing. The calves also learn how to feed and how to utilize the tides and currents. Often we see them taking a ride on mum's back enjoying the wake speed she creates.

Groups of boisterous juvenile males put on great displays with lots of breaching, grunting and chasing each other. Courtship and love are also in the air and we often see groups of males seducing one female trying to get her attention by tail slapping etc...

Whale species spotted around Kalbarri

Other whales seen are Brides whales which are very shy but are a force of nature when popping out of the water snapping up a school of bait! Pods of pilot whales are not uncommon, they swim in deeper water and travel in large groups, sometimes consisting of about 40 animals.

Southern rights are not as frequent as Humpbacks but do visit us, often hanging out in the shallows feeding their babies.These whales are notorious for their inactivity and will 'log' (rest) on the surface of the water for hours, doing absolutely nothing giving people standing on the shore amazing photo opportunities.

The Humpback whales and dolphins have a close affinity and are regularly seen traveling together. Some days, our coastline is like an episode of National Geographic.