Whales are kind of a big deal here!
One of the major reason why Hervey Bay is recognized as a travel destination is due to the 3 months of spectacular whale watching you can catch just an hour off shore. So needless to say, between the months of July and October, “Whale” is on almost everyone’s mind.
Figuring that I had some sort of obligation to join in on the fun, I registered for an outing of my own. Pretty stoked for the day trip, I was a bit surprised when I got a phone call two nights prior asking if I would be able to go out the day before instead due to a decrease in whale sightings.
So, I headed out at 7am last Tuesday with 11 other early risers to search for the few pods of whales left in the miles of ocean we were prepared to navigate. What was pretty unique about Blue Dolphin, the recommended whale watching company, is that they were not focused on being the # 1 large ship that jam packs as many tourists together as possible and caters to the masses. Instead, this large sail boat is a family owned company that can take up to 24 passengers at a time and includes a delicious homemade meal prepared the night before by the skipper’s wife.
Joined by some guests that were staying at the apartments, it was nice to get to know the other whale watchers as we set sail parallel to Fraser Island. Before embarking on our voyage, our skipper had informed us of the day’s itinerary and let us know that he was a bit wary of what we would find as the number of sightings had exponentially decreased in the days prior. We set sail, and as the skipper was in close communication with the other boats on the water, we received encouraging word that there were 4 pods spotted.
We headed out and quickly spotted a mom and her newborn calf. Much like human newborns, the early days of a humpback whale’s life is spent feeding, sleeping, and splashing around. Though not much splashing on Tuesday, we followed the pair for hours as we watched the two switch between feeding phase at the bottom of the ocean and quiet parallel swim as they embraced the last few days of warmer water.
After following the pair for hours and not hearing much more from the other boats, we headed back to shore around 4:30pm concluding a calm and sunny day well spent sailing the ocean. After talking to other apartment guests and locals alike, I learned that our outing marked the last whale sightings for the season. Talk about cutting it close!
To add to the Whale focused fun, I had also attended The Hervey Bay Whale Festival. What a fun night of watching the little illuminated nemos and whales parade around the Fraser Coast cultural center. We also got to see Clare Bowditch perform as she returned to her native land in efforts to raise funds for the lovable large mammals.
From speaking with some townies, this had marked the end of yet another succesul whale watching season!