HAPPY HUMP(BACK) DAY, FOLKS! We’re almost there! (Both with the week and this list. 😂)
Today is the penultimate in my list of top/favourite whale encounters. This encounter took place ON my actual birthday so it was special for that reason but also because it was…
#2 My FIRST encounter with Migaloo! (July 2016)
We’d been tracking Migs since before he went past Byron Bay so we knew he was on his way… it was just a question of would he arrive on THAT day or slip past us during the night? (Please no, please no, please no… 🙏)
I went out on a morning tour with another operator but we didn’t see a peep. The whales were, bizarrely, pretty quiet. I think I may have taken 20 photos in TOTAL?? And I usually average HUNDREDS (on occasion, over a thousand 😅) when I’m on a whale watching tour. So it was just WEIRD. I don’t think I’m reading into it too much when I say there was an air of anticipation around and the humans weren’t the only ones feeling it!
When the morning tour got back in, I went straight over to Sea World Whale Watch (now Whale Watch Australia) and got booked into the afternoon tour. It was a grey, extremely overcast and occasionally drizzly afternoon… but we had high hopes and our fingers (and toes) crossed, so we set off down the coast.
Here, little Migaloo…
On the way there, the WEIRDEST thing happened. Kept happening, actually. We saw so many whales around – total opposite of the morning – and even more bizarrely was they were SERIOUSLY active. Like something in the air had them all in a tizz. Lost count how many of them started breaching as we got closer. It’s like they were trying to distract us or divert our attention! On ANY other day we would have hung out with such surface active whales… but we had a white fella to find!
We ended up alllll the way down just past the NSW/QLD border (!!) to find him! But find him we did. 😀
He was slowly cruising up past Cook Island (just off Fingal Head, south of the border) with one other whale – I think I’ve heard some people refer to his companion as Milo? Pretty sure it was the same whale that Craig Parry captured in that AMAZING underwater photo of Migaloo and companion from 2017 (?).
We kept back for a bit (there were already quite a few other boats around) and let him approach – score! He actually came right alongside our boat (the VERY appropriately named Spirit of Migaloo 🤍) and even went under a couple of times before he popped up on the other side!! 😍 I know I mentioned in my other posts the aqua glow when he’s underwater. Seeing it for the first time, there’s nothing like it.
We stayed with Migs and his mate as long as we could before we absolutely had to leave because we were running so far overtime. The Captain had to put the foot down to get us back to Main Beach at a decent hour! The light was already fairly dim from being so overcast – it was getting close to sunset by the time we got back!
It was an AMAZING birthday present getting to see Migaloo for the first time. And it really set the tone for birthdays in following years! 😁 #blessed
SO. If Migaloo on my birthday was #2 on this list… what do you think #1 will be? Hint: If you’ve followed my Instagram account for a while, you will have seen the encounter before.