Southern Right or Humpback?
Getting up close and personal with the whales is truly a magical experience and to help you figure out which one is which, we've put together a few helpful tips on how to spot a Southern Right or a Humpback whale this season.
The Southern Right Whale
- Status: Endangered
- Description: Southern Right whales are grey in colour and can grow up to 17 metres in length. The whales are baleen whales with a bow-shaped lower jaw and a head that is up to one quarter of its body length. Southern Right Whales were named so because they were considered the "right" whale to hunt because they float when dead, yielded many barrels of oil, and had long baleen plates
- Population: Despite gaining protection in 1936 Southern Right Whale stocks are still a long way from recovering. Today southern right whales number approximately 3,000 but are vulnerable to extinction.
The Humpback Whale
- Status: Endangered
- Description: The humpback whale is black or grey with a white, grooved underbelly. Humpbacks are well known for their playful behaviour and can often be seen jumping out of the water in magnificent displays of breaching. Scientists are unsure why humpbacks breach, but believe it may be related to courtship or play activity. Humpback whales weigh up to 65 tonnes and the female is larger than the male. The humpback whale is capable of living up to 95 years
- Population: In the 1870s humpback whales numbered an estimated 125,000, but early in the 20th century whaling drastically reduced the population. Today humpbacks number approximately 7,500.
Where to Spot Whales!
Whales can be viewed from various positions on land along the Augusta coast. However one of the best vantage points is definitely from the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse. The high powered binoculars featured at the lighthouse viewing decks are particularly awesome!
If you prefer to get up close and personal with the whales on their home turf (ie. the ocean!) and you don't have your own boat, you won't miss out as Naturaliste Charters, Legend Charters and All Sea Charters provide whale watching tours throughout the entire season. Visit their pages to find out more or to book a spot on the boat.