Whale Watching

Humpback Whale in Hervey Bay

Humpback Tail

I love whales and have always wanted to go whale watching. Now that I live on the shores of Hervey Bay, a whale migratory path, I’ve run out of excuses. So during these school holidays we all set of to the town of Hervey Bay to catch ‘The Spirit of Hervey Bay’ – a 24 metre ocean going catamaran designed specifically for whale watching.

Tail Slapping

Humpback whales migrate to Hervey Bay, from the icy waters of the Antarctic, and stay to give birth to their calves, mate, play and rest during the months of July to early November. The calves need time to grow fat from their mothers rich milk before heading for the first time to the Antarctic. The waters of Hervey Bay are protected by the worlds largest (and prettiest) sand island, Fraser Island.

Fraser Island

Fraser Island

fraser9

Fraser Island

Humpbacks are massive creatures – I didn’t realise how big until I saw them up close. We were out on the bay for 4 hours and during that time saw about 10 mothers with their calves. The closest they came was about 5 metres from the boat. They see boats all the time and are not particularly bothered by them. On seeing a whale the captain of the boat would slow down, nearly stopping completely. Legally boats are not allowed to get too close to whales, though it is OK if the whale wants to do a bit of people watching; and that does happen as they are often just as curious about us as we are of them.

People Watching

People Watching

I’m posting some photos I took, and let me tell you, getting a great photo of a whale is almost impossible.- I’m in awe of the people that get a good breaching shot. We did see the calves breach, or jump completely out of the water, but it usually happens too quick for still photography. This one was a bit too far away to see clearly.

If you want a poem about whales then you will have to follow the link to my poem Orca. Yes, I know the orca is not a humpback, not even a whale (it’s the largest member of the dolphin family)- but it has a similar repertoire of movements and most people think it’s a whale (it’s known as the Killer Whale because it kills whales, not because it is a killer of a whale).

Here are the rest of the photos.

mum and calf3

Mother and Calf

Fins from a mother and calf

Fins from Mother and Calf

Tail Slapping

Tail Slapping

Humpback playing in the waters off Fraser Island

Humpback playing in the waters off Fraser Island

We had a fantastic day! Life is too short not to go whale watching.

14 thoughts on “Whale Watching

  1. A fantastic day! as you said.
    It felt like being there, the way you tell it, and your pictures are good.
    I like mother and calf fins, very graphic and also the tail slappings, huuum!, good material for sketching…
    Love also the poem about orcas, Orcas and wolves, good, strong image.

    • Drawing would be good Benedicte. I was trying to draw an orca for my poem and it was a disaster – my little Tessa did a better job. Tail slapping or lob-tailing can be heard underwater for several hundred metres and could be non-verbal communication; visual displaying of aggression; or a way to frighten fish into schooling so they are easier to forage. Thanks for your comments on this and the poems.

    • If you ever leave the wilds of America and come to Australia – I will take you whale watching (and show you all the other beasties we have here in Hervey Bay) – thanks for your comments Thomma Lyn, always appreciated.

    • Hi furrball – the beauty of Fraser (and the beaches on the mainland near Fraser)is unbelievable. The first photo in the blog looks good but in real life it was even better with the changes in blues/greens in the water – I felt like jumping off the catamaran for a swim. Some of the sand blows and hills on Fraser are huge – very pretty. Gotta watch those dingoes though – they’d love a squirrel for dinner!

  2. that tail slapping photo is amazing! we went out there a couple of years ago but it was one of the first days of the season…we did get a little whale action but not much, but it was still amazing. I did get a lovely dolphin shot I’m proud of….

    yes…I was an archaeologist in my former life…I know nothing about the Woodgate dunes tho..hang on maybe I do..well I SHOULD…I read some survey reports about it years ago…

    • Your too kind screamish. I only saw one dolphin on our outing – they look tiny compared to the whales. My step-mum the archeologist was telling me all about the 2nd ridge at Woodgate – where the ocean came up to 7,000 years ago – and where there is fresh water for the local indigenous population to drink. One day the water will probably be that high again and Woodgate will disappear – I suppose.

  3. Looks like great fun. I’m so jealous. Must come up to Hervey Bay and see the whales – one day. Maybe next season. Thanks for the great shots.

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