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