The Bay Blues project team, whose ultimate goal was to tag a blue whale in Geographe Bay, had to wait 12 long days before the tag they were sure they had successfully deployed on November 7 began to transmit.
By then the whale in question was well down into the southern ocean below the Great Australian Bight.
Dr Capri Jolliffe, head of the project, said, "It was great news for all of us as pygmy blue whales are elusive and hard to tag.
"You can never be sure that the tag has attached correctly and it can only transmit for the very short time the whale surfaces to breathe.
You can never be sure that the tag has attached correctly and it can only transmit for the very short time the whale surfaces to breathe. We were keeping our hopes up but as the days passed it became less likely.- Dr Capri Jolliffe
"We were keeping our hopes up but as the days passed it became less likely."
The project team worked in the bay between Busselton and Cape Naturaliste lighthouse for 12 days.
Tagging efforts were limited by the strong winds and only a few days when whales were present.
Success came on day five of the project with the deployment of two tags.
"Even if the tagging had not been possible, we gathered immense amounts of data on behaviour, acoustics and environmental conditions as well as some brilliant drone footage. We will be busy analysing data for months," Dr Jolliffe said.
The project, initiated by Geographe Marine Research, a Dunsborough based charity, involved over 60 land base volunteers plus 18 volunteers on 2 vessels.
Ian Wiese, chairman of GMR, pointed out that the company is a registered charity and must continue to raise money to cover expenses.
The board has devised a proposal to provide the right to name the whale, to the highest bidding business in the area.
This should create hearty competition as this is cutting edge science which could put Busselton on the map for viewing blue whales.
The track of the nameless whale, a female, can be seen on GMR's website www.marineresearch.org.au and is already providing priceless information regarding possible foraging behaviour.