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  • Whale Watching

    Top/favourite whale encounters #1

    We are now at the end of this series of posts. My top/favourite whale encounters. Some of you may have guessed this one was coming but coming in at No. 1 we have…

    # 1 Mum and newborn calf! (July 2018)

    Mother and newborn humpback whale calf glide close by the boat
    Gliding past for a look

    Like the previous post, this encounter also happened on my actual birthday (though two years later).

    TBH, this probably would have made top of my list even if it HADN’T been on my birthday but that certainly made it even more special. I specifically took the day off work so I could go whale watching on my birthday. I am so so so so glad I did.

    We’d only been out on the water maybe 30 mins or so when we saw some blows on the water’s surface a bit further out. At first we thought it was a dolphin because the blow was so small, but as we got closer we realised…

    …It was a BABY WHALE!! 😍

  • Whale Watching

    Top/favourite whale encounters #2

    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… 🙏)

    White whale tail above the surface of the water
    Migaloo!

    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.

  • Whale Watching

    Top/favourite whale encounters #5

    The next in this series of my top/favourite whale encounters is a little special because it was QUITE unexpected.

    #5: My THIRD encounter with MIGALOO! (September 2017)

    You are reading that correctly. I’ve actually had THREE encounters with Migaloo and this one happened only two months after my second encounter with him! 😮

    We weren’t actually expecting to see him – last I’d heard he was way up north on the reef somewhere around the islands – so I don’t think anyone was even looking for him. And then THERE HE WAS.

    But allow me to backtrack a little…

  • Whale Watching

    Top/favourite whale encounters #6

    Continuing on from yesterday’s post, next on my list of top/favourite whale encounters is…

    #6: My second encounter with MIGALOO! (July 2017)

    Yes, I have been lucky enough to have MORE than one encounter with the famous white whale. 😁 For those who don’t know about Migaloo, he’s an all-white humpback whale that generally migrates up and down the east coast of Australia. His name means ‘white fella’ and he was named by the Aboriginal elders of the Hervey Bay area.

    The White Fella

    All-white humpback whale, Migaloo, surfacing
    Migaloo just hanging for us at the Seaway

    Our encounter this day was planned, to an extent, as we’d had reports that Migaloo was making his way north and was due on the Gold Coast in the next 24 hours or so. I headed out in the morning with Whale Watch Australia in hopes we could find him…

  • Whale Watching

    Top/favourite whale encounters #7

    Well, it’s World Environment Day and what better time to start this next series of posts! I’ve been whale watching since 2007 but this is my 10th consecutive year. 😊 Today (and every day, lbr) I’m talking WHALES. Specifically, I’ll be counting down my top/favourite whale encounters. So without further ado…

    #7: SUPERPODS and HEAT RUNS!

    Part of the 2015 superpod

    I’ve had two encounters with superpods (or competition pods) – the first consisted of 10 whales (2015), the second was 13 whales (2017)! 😱

    Try and picture 10+ 30-40 TONNE (yes, TONNE!) animals charging through the water after a female, competing for mating rights. If you’re having trouble imagining that, don’t worry – it’s hard to visualise but go for ‘whale washing machine’ with a lot of huffing and grunting and you’ll be close. 😂