Whale watching in Western Australia

Every so often life shows you something wonderful and happening upon a whale and calf playing lazily in surf just off a local beach, when your boyfriend has dragged you out fishing, is one of those things. 

Fishing is not my thing. I love fish, both looking at them and eating them, but waiting around getting either cold and wet or sunburned while they consider the bait, I find a rather boring activity.

Southern Right Whale and calf, Esperance, WA, Australia
Knowing I could explore the beach with my camera, I agreed to the fishing trip. The coastline here is spectacular and although the water is often cold enough that you are not tempted to swim the sunshine keeps you warm whilst exploring and there is always something to photograph.

Whale calf waves at the shore, Thomas River, Esperance, Australia

We drove 120 kilometres east out of Esperance to Thomas River and no sooner had we stepped onto the squeaky white sand, we spotted a whale and calf playing in the bay. To the western end of the beach is a rocky outcrop that is easy to climb, so you have a good view back to the beach and also of the sea.

Whale watching from the shore, Esperance, Australia

This is whale watching at its best. Not only do the whales come pretty close but you have plenty of space and you also do not have to spend time looking for them from a crowded and rocking boat (perfect for seasickness-prone whale watching enthusiasts).

Whale and calf, Thomas River, Esperance, Australia

This is a Southern Right Whale and her calf. Southern Rights are easily identifiable for their dark colouring, the callosities (the whale version of callouses) that form on their heads and the fact that if they are swimming towards or away from you the spray from their blowholes forms a ‘V’ shape above them. 

Southern Right Whale and calf, Thomas River, Esperance, Australia
According to the friendly local Department of Environment and Conservation officer whales are often seen very close to shore because they come in shallow in order to lie on the sand. Apparently they enjoy scratching their tummies on it.

Whale close to shore, Esperance, Australia

Humpback Whales are often seen locally too and apparently tend to be more acrobatic, although the calf put on a pretty good show!

Have you seen whales in the wild? Where were you and what did you think? 

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