Getting Mugged

After a long day yesterday of data entry, we were more than ready to return to the water in search of more whales.  Little did we know what the day would hold.


Everyday we are on the water we are taking pages of notes and hundreds of photos.  The notes, or boat log, contain valuable information on pod composition, behavior, and the documentation of each photo taken.  It takes a lot of work to go through the photos every night and enter in the pages of boat logs.  Yesterday was a day to catch up on all this.  But, like most of you know, sitting all day after spending so much time outside can be exhausting.  We were looking forward to another day of Hervey Bay whales and were not disappointed.


The day started off a pretty typical one with two mom/calf and escort pods.  In each case they were swimming along minding their own business.  We came across groups of adults, but so far, all the whales did not want to have anything to do with our little boat.


 Our last pod of the day began with two adults and a sub-adult swimming north.  Then, we lost sight of them.  We decided to hang back and see if they had changed direction.  Just as we decided to give up, one of the adults and the sub-adult surfaced right beside the boat.  They then proceeded to mug us for the next two hours.  Mugging, in this case, is a good thing.  This is when the whales swim around and under the boat.  The adult spent most of its time laying ventral (belly) side up, with its head under the boat.  Because the whale was ventral up, we could see her hemispherical lobe, thus knowing she was a female.  The hemispherical lobe is a fleshy ball at the base of the genital slit.  The sub-adult did multiple spy-hops near the boat.  They both rolled at the surface so we could see them staring up at us.  Sometimes you wonder, who is watching whom? Eventually, we had to call the whale watch boat, Tasman Venture, to come rescue us because when the whales mug the boat, the boat cannot move.  Luckily, when Tasman Venture arrived the whales swam over to them and we were able to escape.  What an epic day it turned out to be. 

Amanda Hutsel


Nature Lover (visitor) says:

It must have been great.. I love the sentence "Sometime you wonder who is watching whom" :)

Beth Salles (visitor) says:

Nothing like having several ton whales playing with you!!! I think they were letting you know they were in charge and weren't going to let you go till they were ready lol. Would love to be mugged all day.