August is a special time for Humpback whales in Hervey Bay. Young humpback whales are one of the first groups to visit Hervey Bay during August. They may range from one to six years of age. These young Humpbacks are full of life, curious and keen to explore the world around them.
Above: Charlottes has very distinctive underside-fluke patterns.
This encounter with Charlotte is what is known as 'a close extended encounter'. This means that Charlotte intentionally came to the research vessel, stayed and interacted with those aboard for over an hour. Such encounters provide priceless opportunities to closely observe, photograph and film the behaviour of humpback whales and to learn about them. In Charlotte’s case we were able to confirm that she, and the younger whale with her, were female. It also appeared that Charlotte was involved in showing the younger female how to behave around a vessel and the etiquette of interacting with humans. This type of encounter does not usually occur during the migration along the east coast of Australia. So because of such encounters visitors aboard the Whale Watch Fleet in Hervey Bay are offered a unique opportunity to experience humpback whales up close and personal. Hence the Whale Watch Captains have come to fondly call these early visitors to Hervey Bay 'The August Whales'.
Danielle’s fluke in contrast has a different shape and markings.
The marks on Charlotte’s right-side of her body will help in
recognising her in future sightings.
This picture show Danielle’s ‘hemi-spherical lobe’, which is
unique to female humpback whales. It can be seen at bottom left,
near the water.