Dolphin Watch Cruises is enjoying a late season whale boom at Jervis Bay.
Glenn Maybury has been hosting dolphin and whale watching cruises in the bay for 26 years but this southern migration of humpback whales is as busy as he has seen.
Mr Maybury said he has particularly seen an increase over the last five years as the humpback population continues to grow. “We are pretty much just coming to the end of the peak part of the southern migration but over the last three to four weeks we have had quite a lot of whales in the bay.”
There have been up to 15 to 20 a day. We are seeing whales even on our dolphin cruises.”
Mr Maybury said the mothers and calves stopped in the bay for more than just a driver reviver rest on their long journey south. “They need to fatten the babies up. If they don’t have enough fat on them when they get to the colder waters they won’t survive. They need to stay warm so that is what the mothers are concentrating on. They will nurse them for a couple of days here and head south once they are comfortable their babies are fat enough. Over the last five years there has definitely been a big increase in whales stopping in the bay.”
Mr Maybury said the mothers were definitely more active at this time of year.
“When the females are pregnant they don’t breach as much,” he said.
“The humpbacks are the most aerial of all whales and will jump up out of the water as you saw coming across. Those big splashes of water are from a 40 tonne animal jumping out of the water. They are easy to spot but when they are pregnant (during the northern migration early in the year) they don’t jump as much and are a little bit harder to find.”
Mr Maybury said they had been easy for the four vessels in the Dolphin Watch Cruises fleet to find in recent weeks because “they have been jumping all over the place”.