Whales, Wildlife & Wilderness                                                                                                                                                 Pam & Wayne Osborn

Whale Songs


Solitary Whale - Exmouth Gulf 28 August 2013


Head down and flukes up, this whale was singing for over 30 minutes.  When solitary whales are singing they often surface head down and flukes up as this one has done.  Often the singing is so loud, the boat's hull acts as a loud-speaker to amplify the sound. The image underneath is a digital waveform of this recording.

Bull Sperm Whale Encounter - The Azores  2 July 2008


I was head on in the water with this 17 metre bull sperm whale approaching.  The audio track starts with usual sperm whale 'clicks' used for echo-location. The two high-power, high frequency bursts are his interrogation of me in the water ahead of him.  These bursts can be clearly seen in the digital waveform image (audio file courtesy of Wade Hughes).


The power of these bursts can be felt in the rib cage and will vibrate your face mask.  It all could be quite intimidating but it's just a sonar spray to identify objects ahead of the whale.  Mind you it is probably not a welcome sound for giant squid - a substantial part of the sperm whale diet.


In the topside image the whale has his back arched.  As the eyes are set well back in the head, the eyes have good downward vision.  However to see forward they often arch their backs like this. He is now trying to get a visual of me in the water.

Singing in The Rain - Rottnest Island  12 November 2009


it was pouring rain and we were soaked to the skin when we came across this pod of a mother humpback, her calf and two male escorts. We were off the Western Australian coast to the north of Rottnest Island. These whales would soon leave the Australian coast and head deep into the Southern Ocean for their summer feeding in Antarctic waters.


It's a boisterous tune full of energy and enthusiasm. Background boat noise can be intrusive when making these recordings but we were fortunate in that there was no shipping or small boat traffic.