After a morning working in the lab, I finally head offshore in the afternoon to join the whales. Earlier that morning I had heard whale blows through the fog, so I was eager to try to find out whom these spouts belonged to! I had my answer relatively quickly, spotting a minke whale up close as I was leaving the marina. Maybe it was the source of the blows that made me languish all morning long?!
A little farther, I see a second minke, just after crossing paths with a gray seal basking on a boulder. Then my attention is diverted by heavy splashing even farther away. Another minke whale is breaching! I can see more than half of its body. It is rolling on the water, letting me admire its white, pink-tinted belly. On a few occasions, it even rises to the surface with its mouth gaping. He’s feeding, that I’m sure! After several minutes of observing this incredibly active minke whale, a second individual appears. In turn, it also feeds near the water surface, performing all sorts of behaviours to successfully capture its prey. We leave the site and let them enjoy their meal in peace.
We are unable to locate any large rorquals that day. We see two more minke whales hunting prey near the Prince Shoal Lighthouse. Such impressive behaviour to watch.
Catherine Chassé joined the GREMM team this year. As part of the photo-census program of large rorquals in the Marine Park, she collects photos and data on board tour boats. She also shares this information with the editorial team of Whales Online.