In 2011 I helped out with the BRAHSS team in Australia. This hugely ambitious project aims to learn more about the influence of acoustic pollution on wild whales, and provided ample opportunity to be amazed by those acrobatic giants, the humpback whales.
The survey teams worked from the high ground of Emu mountain. We first spotted the whales with just our eyes or with binoculars, then followed them using a team of ‘spotters’ and a theodolite. This allowed precise tracking of movements we could follow a pod for several hours as they moved across the horizon.
The huge pectoral fin, here poised to slap the waters for communication or display could often be spotted several kilometers away by the observation teams.
The whales come very close to the coastline as they make their southerly migration to the Southern Ocean to feed,
I often thought that this mountain resembled a whale back, this confirmed it.
A lazy half-breach type move.
Mother for scale.
The ‘blow’ is often used to locate whales out at sea.
Whale spotting, even on poor weather days.
But when the storm was really bad, we had no choice but to stay home and rest, or go out and enjoy some apocalyptic skies.