The sea mammals we are likely to see off the Bunurong Coast include dolphin, whales, and seals.
You can become actively involved in monitoring whale and dolphin activity along our coast by reporting sightings to The Two Bays Project, a Citizen Science initiative led by the Dolphin Research Institute in partnership with Wildlife Coast Cruises. The project is designed to accurately record sightings of large cetacean species within Port Phillip, Western Port and adjacent waters (Barwon Heads to Inverloch). See website link Report Whale Sightings in the left side menu.
Wildlife Coast Cruises also has a wonderful free app Wildlife Whales (see website link in left side menu) which provides great local information about the best spots to see whales along the Bunurong Coast, sends alerts when whales are spotted and allows you to report sightings.
The coast is frequented by migratory Humpback Whales on their way up the east coast to the warm waters of northern Australia in winter and occasionally a Southern Right Whale might venture into the area. Killer Whales (Orca) have reportedly been seen off shore as well. Dolphins are also irregularly seen.
It may also be possible to see various species of Fur Seals on the beach or rocky platforms of our stretch of coastline.
Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) VULNERABLE
We can expect to see these magnificent creatures from our beach during May to July each year on their journey up the east coast from the depths of Antarctica where they spend the summer feeding on krill and plankton and mating. They may be seen singularly or in small pods and sometimes venture in quite close to shore, particularly in the deeper waters off the rocky headlands. They complete the return journey in September-October.
The “Humpy” is a large black whale that can grow up to 16 m in length. It is distinguished by its small curved dorsal fin and white tail underneath, which has unique markings for each whale from which they can be identified. Look out for their distinctive blow of a bushy jet of water vapour spray and their slow, graceful, humping dive.
They are listed as vulnerable in Victoria but their numbers appear to be slowly increasing each year.
Irregular Dolphin sightings may be seen from the sand dune lookout locations at 2nd Surf Beach and F Break. Sightings are usually associated with fish feeding offshore and a good indicator they may be around is when large flocks of Gannets and Terns are seen plunge diving. Small pods of about 4-6 dolphins have been seen in these settings off 2nd Surf Beach.
Dolphins likely to be seen are the Common Dolphin and the local Burrunan Dolphin (or Southern Australia Bottlenose Dolphin).