Whales, Dolphins, Owls & Kangaroo's. Our Animal Adventure

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Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Port Stephens
August 15th 2009
Published: August 16th 2009
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Humpback whales migrate up the east coast of Australia this time of year so we decided to go out and take a look at them. We had already seen Sperm whales in New Zealand but the chance of seeing Humpbacks leaping out of the water was to hard to refuse. Our boat left the harbour at 10am for a three hour cruise in search of the whales. Our boat was smaller than the others going out so we would be able to get closer and it would be less crowded. We were one of the first few one so I took pole position up the front where I could get some great photos. On our journey out some Bubble Nose Dolphins followed us for out for a while. They are similar to the bottle nose but a lot smaller. A whale was spotted in the distance so we drove towards there. It turned out to be a Minky Whale. We only got to see its back, but I suppose its another whale to add to the list. It was hard to concentrate on the Minky as the dolphins kept swimming around the boat looking for attention. The Minky and dolphins would come up and down and I didn’t know where to be pointing the camera with all the movement. We moved on after awhile and headed towards where the captain had heard there were some Humpbacks.

There was a guy on board who played the didgeridoo so that the whales would come to him. Apparently they can hear it so he kept us entertained while we waited. Unfortunately, being in pole position had its down falls. As we sailed towards the whales we had to turn into the direction the sea was going. The front of the boat crashed into a wave and I got absolutely soaked. Im mean drenched. So did half the others on the boat and I’m sure if I wasn’t half as eager to get that ‘great photo’ I wouldn’t have got as wet. Strangely though it was the back of me that got soaked even though I was facing the water. Im not sure how that happened but I had to stand on the boat facing the opposite direction to let the wind at my backside. Michelle didn’t get that wet as she had the protection of some big ejit in front of her who wanted to be at the front. We got to the Humpbacks and watched them for awhile. There were two, probably a mother and auntie. The auntie acts as a kind of midwife when the mother gives birth. For some reason this day they didn’t feel like jumping out of the water. A photographer who goes out on the trip every day says the ‘breach’ about 3-4 times a week. One day he was out a whale breached 160 times between two points on the coast. They don’t know why they breach but reckon it could be to stretch or get parasites of. They also have a sense of humour it seems, as we were all staring out on one side for them and the came up on the other. Everyone raced over and they disappeared. We waited there for a minute and they came up on the other side then, only for everyone to race over again. They then disappeared again and we didn’t seem them after that. We returned to the shore disappointed we didn’t get to see them leap from the water but also delighted we got to see them in the wild.

All excited after seeing dolphins we rang the company in the next town up about swimming with them in the wild. I was told that the dolphins that they swim with we basically gone for the winter months and there was no swimming for another few months. Ah well, that’s life. I can still swim with them in an aquarium and probably have more fun there but as there are only 15 places to swim with them in the wild and I have passed 4 now at this stage I’m kind of disappointed.

On the other hand I have a funny story. Well, it is now. We stayed in a lovely campsite in the bush. There notice board had a sign about things that go bump in the night and not to worry as the area was full of wildlife. It was dark out, with half moon, the stars shining in the sky. The forest came to life with all things nocturnal. (just setting the scene!). We were fixing up Mrs. Doyle for the night and I was sitting in the back of the van. Michelle was outside and needed something on the drivers seat. She reached in from the passengers side and got what she wanted. When she got back out and turned around, her head level with the top of the passenger door, she was face to face with an Owl! She screamed an ran off through the woods. As I was sitting inside I didn’t know what had happened. I thought a snake or spider had come down from the tree above. It also put me on red alert and as I didn’t know what was out there, I wasn’t going to stick my head out. Michelle soon returned shouting that it was an owl. I stooped out under the door to see a big grey owl staring in at me. The owl also had its head stooped down so he could see me inside. I grabbed the camera and took a few photos of it. He eventually jumped onto the top of the van and I got out. He just stood there staring at us in the same way as I was staring at him. Michelle is more afraid of birds than anything so she wouldn’t return until he left. He was quite large and had fairly decent sized claws so I wasn’t in a rush to tell him to move on. He stayed there watching us while we packed before heading to the campsite kitchen. They also have a pet kangaroo on site called Josephine. After finding her we petted her for awhile but she had no interest in us at all.

Our next stop is Port Macquarie where we will get to ride on camels. At the moment it feels like we are on a mission to see as many species that are not native to Ireland before we get home.

In a bit. DH

Song of the blog: The Police - Roxanne

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