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Each year September typically marks the beginning of the annual humpback season in Eden, New South Wales. Humpback’s migrating down the coast spend an undefined amount of time grazing through the area, picking up tasty morsels of krill and free floating plankton. Bait balls can be seen at times from miles away, popping at the surface to avoid being consumed by the multiple forms of predation above and below.
This year’s surge of Humpbacks began as early as (mid) August, meaning the bay has hosted hundreds of hungry humpbacks over the span of nearly two months already! The exact location of where the humpbacks feed can change from year to year, and even day to day but this year’s hotspot seems to be from between 8 to 12 miles off the coastline.
For the past two days the team has been launching the boat off of Eden’s single lane boat ramp, and dredging into twelve miles of up and down ocean rollers before coming upon the anticipated humpback feeding frenzy. It wouldn’t be atypical for humpbacks to be feeding closer to the shoreline, or in pods of only one, but as the trend would have it this year feeding transpires in numbers.
With an estimated 13 pods in the area yesterday and a documented seven within the area today, the vast majority of the feeding seems to be occurring within a fairly congregated area (as far as our surveys show thus far). It would be ideal for safety reasons to work more closely to the shoreline, however we go where the whales go and the whales go offshore (this year).
High winds and poor conditions knocked us off the water a few hours early today and threats of gales and elevated seas over the next few days may knock us off sooner yet, but as long as nature allows we will rest-assured be out braving those polar seas.