Getting up close and personal with Humpback whales, it’s astonishing just how enormous and gentle they are. We’ve been extremely fortunate over the past six years to have spent significant periods of time filming and photographing Humpback whales and other cetaceans on the Kimberley coast.
Our first dedicated filming trip in 2006 was focused on Camden Sound, thought to have been the main calving and breeding area for Breeding Stock D, Western Australia’s humpback whale population. Our small houseboat enabled us to move with the whales between Augustus Island at the northern end of Camden Sound, and Hall Point to the south, where we found a magnificant vantage point on top of a small cliff and were able to film and photograph the whales certain that we having no impact on them at all. At other times we ventured out in an aluminium zodiac, recording behaviour on film and whale song with a purpose built hydrophone.
Humpback bulls follow the females up the coast, competing for their attention and the chance to mate. On one memorable occasion we sat in the dinghy watching a cow teach a young calf how to swim against the tide through a channel, and then drift backwards to the starting point. The pair had performed this lesson several times before resting for a period, when they were approached by two singers; male humpbacks competing for attention. One of the bulls positioned himself directly under the dinghy, which amplified the song – whale song in surround sound. The cow eventually chose one of the bulls as an escort and swam away, leaving the remaining bull dejected.
Listen to whale song from Camden Sound.