WATCH: Humpback whales are ‘mugging’ spectator boats off Sydney

A whale off Sydney. Image: Vanessa Pirotta.

The season for whale watching off Sydney has produced amazing images and recording of a whale behaviour that’s become known as mugging.

“We had a fantastic individual over the weekend on Saturday that was very curious,” says Vanessa Pirotta, a Phd student at Macquarie University who’s also been to Antarctica to research whales.

“It would approach boats and swim around them — a behaviour we call mugging.

“This time of the year we are seeing whales going north and south. We are also seeing a lot of mother and calves.”

Pirotta says the moment when a whale stops and turns toward your boat to look at you is overwhelming.

“We are very lucky as Sydneysiders to watch these animals migrate along our doorstep each year.

“The East coast humpback whales tend to have these lovely white markings on their stomach, which sometimes extend up onto their sides. This allows you to see individuals as they are just about to surface.”

Here’s a clip taken by Pirotta.

Another photograph from Pirotta:

Off Sydney. Image: Vanessa Pirotta.

And other images captured by whale watchers: