30 September 2006

Whales


At present it is the whale watching season. These beautiful animals have swum up to their breeding grounds in the tropics and are now returning to the colder oceans with their calves. The season goes from July to November and of course, the whale watching charters are doing a roaring trade.

There are rules to be followed for the whales'
protection. The boats must not approach any closer than one hundred metres. That does not stop the whales from coming up to the boats, though. At least that way, it's their decision to do so. The whales cannot be chased. Fair enough, too.

I did hear of a boat that was completely
surrounded by a small pod of whales and, of course, needed to start making tracks back to the shore. The whales are as curious about as as we are of them. Anyway, this particular operator had to radio another boat that was heading in their direction to come closer. The whales saw the other boat and obligingly swam over thus leaving the first boat to make its way back to shore.

The day I took these photos we left Scarborough about 9 am and motored out way past Moreton Island into the Coral Sea. It took about two hours but we had a lovely morning tea and were given lots of information about these beautiful leviathans. The particular whales photographed are Humpback whales which are the most common here. We do also get the Southern Right whales but they are more rare.

Anyway, we reached the area where the whales were usually spotted and were told to look out for a plume of spray. It wasn't long before we saw the telltale spray and so we slowly drifted over. Well, what a display! Talk about show offs - there was tail slapping, fin waving, breaching, popping their heads up to take a look at us. It was nothing short of magnificant. We were there for about two hours and the time went so quickly. The whole experience was breathtaking and I know I felt so very privileged to have seen these lovely animals swimming freely in their natural environment.

The Humpbacks were almost extinct but since the prohibition of whaling they have made a spectacular comeback and there are more than ever. Each year sees more and more whales and their calves. It is really gratifying and we really do not want whaling to continue, as some countries are doing regardless of whether the whales they hunt are plentiful or not.

Anyway, I hope you get the opportunity sometime to see these lovely animals in the wild. It will be an experience you will never forget.

7 comments:

Remiman said...

Robyn,
What an enthralling adventure. I imagine from your photos that the visuals were spectacular.

It does serve the greater purpose to learn as much as we can about the other life forms we share our planet with.
Have a great weekend.
rel

Mountain Mama said...

What a wonderful experience.
When I was a girl, my dad came home from work one day and hurried us into his car. He drove the seven minutes to a place on Bellingham Bay and said for us to watch. There was a gigantic whale out there. Not usual for our bay, it was asumed it had gotten lost. I don't remember for certain but think it was a gray whale.
Anyhow it was a spectacular sight for my sisters and me, and apparently for our parents too.
I have been in a boat fishing when a pod of Orca's came to visit. I was afraid they would tip the boat over. They were popping up all around us.

Ky Boo Gal said...

I have now added this to one of the things I want to do before I die...how awesome is that??!!
I love dolphins and my first tour had me in amazment...I can't even imagine whales!!
:-D

PEA said...

How awesome to be able to be so close to whales in their natural habitat! The only time I've seen real whales was when I was at the Stanley Park Aquarium in Vancouver...but it's still not the same as seeing them in the ocean! I would have been a bit scared, though, to have so many come to the boat...imagine how easy they could topple it over! You got some great shots of them, thanks so much for sharing:-) Hugs xoxo

Gattina said...

Thanks to Della's comment in my blog I found other girls in the 3rd puberty. I just red your post about the whales and it sounds so "holiday" or Zoo to me ! And you have them just in front of your door or nearly. And now your summer is starting while I want to do like a bear, sleeping the hole winter and coming out in spring !

slap me happy said...

have to go now and check if Jonah is still in his high chair , never know with all those whales ; )

Anonymous said...

Hi Robyn, I saw your mention of your whale watching on a comment on another blog so had to come by and take a look. I recently went whale watching too and posted some photos. It was an awesome experience watching them. Your shots are wonderful.