Whale watching in Western Australia

Every so often life shows you something wonderful. Happening upon a whale and calf playing lazily in surf just off a local beach is one of those things. The coastline in south west Australia 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.

Having driven 120 kilometres east out of Esperance to Thomas River, 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 gentle sloping rocky outcrop that is easy to climb, so you have a good view back to the beach and also of the sea.

Whale calf waves at the shore, Thomas River, 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 watching from the shore, 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. 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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