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5     A Cyclic Journey into the Open Ocean

ABOVE: All Humpbacks adopt similar migration patterns whether in the Northern or Southern hemisphere. However seasonal timing means that both groups travel north and south during the same months. Therefore they never approach the Equator at the same time.

(Image source: Whales, Dolphins & Porpoises, Weldon 1988)

After their summer of feeding in the Antarctic the humpback whales begin their migration.

There are five major groups of humpback whales which head north from around the Polar ice cap as the winter sets in. As they leave Antarctica two of the five groups head for the coastline of Australia and New Zealand. One group follows the western coastline of Australia and the second group subdivides some heading towards New Zealand and the others heading for the eastern coastline of Australia.

We focus on the Area V group which travels up the east coast of Australia.

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