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Australian Boat Spots Rare ‘Megapod’ of Humpback Whales

Credit: Unsplash

It is often joked that those who go whale watching are actually engaged in “ocean watching” due to the limited frequency with which whales appear at the surface. Observing a single whale is uncommon, and spotting a group of whales is even more unlikely. However, a recent sighting off the coast of Bermagui in New South Wales, Australia was nothing short of extraordinary as a tour boat from Sapphire Coastal Adventures encountered a rare event: a megapod of whales.

During a tour, the boat operators released a mass of baitfish into the waters in hopes of attracting whales for the tourists, and they were in for a surprise. More than 100 hungry humpback whales responded to the bait, creating a spectacle like no other.

Simon Miller, the owner of Sapphire Coastal Adventures, described the scene to Reuters: “The strong scent of fish filled the air, fish were everywhere, and whales were breaching through it. Whales on the perimeter were slapping their tails, corralling the bait, and then whales were bursting through from all directions. It was truly incredible.”

During their migration from Antarctica back north to reproduce, humpback whales are known to frequent this part of the ocean. However, the sheer number of whales encountered by the boat operators far exceeded their expectations. Previously, the largest group of whales Miller had witnessed numbered around 20.

“Last year, during this same week, we witnessed a large gathering of humpback whales,” Miller shared with Reuters. “A ‘megapod’ refers to more than 20 whales feeding together in a specific area.”

“For the past 18 to 19 years that I’ve been doing this, we have observed whales feeding along the south coast. Yet, this unprecedented aggregation of whales feeding in such large numbers is truly remarkable,” he added.

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