This was taken during one of the heat runs we got to witness in Tonga 2017.
What is a heat run also known as a competition pod you ask... Its where one female indicates she is ready to mate and males from all over come to impress her thus turning into a competition. I've witnessed these competitions lasting up to 3 days. There can be just 2 males competing or last season Vava'u got to witness 22 males behind one female!! The female dictates the pace, the direction; its a test of strength. For her, she wants the best genes for her calf to come. One of the many competitive displays is when the humpback whale lunges forward with its head raised above the water. Sometimes it can be to land on top of another male, other times it is the sheer pace that these incredible animals are running.
If this is something you would like to have the chance to witness let me know I have all the contacts and I may know a few places
And finishing up with this awesome show of power from two humpbacks - a breach and a head lunge. Merimbula Marina noted this was captured from a competition pod, when several males are competing for the attentions of a female (sometimes known as a heat run too, I think). At roughly 30+ tonnes per whale, you can imagine this behaviour can get pretty full on!
To share your Australian whale watching photos (eastern, western or southern coasts - we love them all!) please tag @whales_australia or #whalesaustralia.
We got swarmed today by 10 or more humpback males doing all kinds of crazy stuff. #competitionpod
I've been meaning to upload whale flukes for some time and now I'll dedicate the month of August to Humpback Whale Tails! Here is the first. This whale was found leading a competition pod in Maui. Naturalists believed this made her the female of the pod.What was most noticeable is what appears to be an injury in front of the dorsal fin. Her fluke is mainly black in color, common for the North Pacific population. I've nicknamed her Strike. Not only for that injury but also because she did several tail slaps, some of which were dangerously close to the males pursuing her. #maui#hawaii#whaleseason#humpbackwhale#competitionpod#fluke#hawaiiwhales#learnaboutwhales#photoid#ilovecetaceans#marinemammalphotography
Happy Hump Day ~
Humpback competition pods are like closing time at the bar. A group of guys competing for the affection of a lady.