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Published: September 13th 2009
A quick flip of the tail
This was a rare glimpse of one of the few Humpback whales flipping its tail and this has been zoomed in!
One of the many suggested 'must dos' in Australia is to visit Hervey Bay and take a day cruise out into the bay to watch the Humpback Whales congregate in the warm waters and have their calves, before swimming back down the coast to Antartic waters later on in the year.
So with the opportunity of a two day holiday, mid week, thanks to Brisbanes' Annual Ekka Show Day, similar to the Newbury Show we decided to drive the 4 1/2 hour drive north after work and stay in a B&B reccommended to us. The drive out of the city was painfully slow but improved once we had driven passed the Bribie Island turning. Obviously others were taking up the opprotunity of a short break away too. The main roads in Queensland linking towns along the coast are not as wide and well lit as the UK so the drive was slow and winding especially as the main road along the coast consists of a single lane with overtaking areas every 10ks. Slowed down by large freight lorries also on the drive north.
The B&B was perfect and not far from the Esplanade where amazingly there were some restaurants
still open at 8.30pm. We enjoyed a chat with a Welsh man who had set up a business in the town and was very happy to talk about places we both knew, our accent is still a bit of a give away so often causes a few comments here and there.
We had an early start and found ourselves on board a catamaran boat heading out of the harbour at 8.00 o'clock in the morning under what promised to be calm waters and blue skies. Reports of pod sightings from the day before were encouraging and so we were excited at the prospect of seeing a number of whales close up. The boat took us along Platypus Bay alongside Fraser Island and out to the furthest headland. The crew explained what it was we had to look for with water spouts and white/silver flashes in the water, so with binoculars poised on the horizon we waited in heightened anticipation.
The first sighting was of a single adolescence who was surfacing about 50 metres from the boat and kept diving changing direction, so when you waited on one side of the baot he would resurface again but on the
There they blow!
These were the second pod sighted on the trip and they refused to swim any closer to the boat which was very frustrating. They were also unpredictable and would reappear on the otherside of the boat when we were all looking in the other direction! Good game!
otherside! This went on for a while and occasionally he gave us a flash of his tail but was not curious enough to swim up close and take a look at us. So we moved on to another sighting and followed two whales idly swimming along, again from a distance. Somehow we had got this image of being close up and personal to these animals and be in wonder at their size and presence, slowly we begun to realise that perhaps today the sightings would not be quite as spectacular as the day before.
After lunch and the promise of another pod nearby we cruised over in search of them and was treated to a close encounter as one swam under the boat and clearly showed it's spotted white underbelly but kept swimming and did not surface until a far distance away from the boat. That was the closest we ever got despite everyone waving their arms and clapping to raise their curiosity and encourage them to swim alongside and take a closer look.
One can only reflect on Murphys Law and put the trip down to experience and plan another visit. It is a lottery. We were
Hervey Bay Coastline
We sat and watched some dramatic skyline changes as we walked along the pier.
thrilled to see the whales we did and when you zoom in on the image of the photo taken they seem to be a bit closer!! We will just have to drive down to Cabarita and sit on the headland and do some spotting from there!
The next day we decided to take the scenic route home via Maryborough, a delightful town with many original Queensland Architecture still standing, with wide streets and over hanging veraders with wooden walkways. A long drive through a never ending forest on a long straight road took us to our lunch stop at Rainbow Beach was perfect with views of clear turquoise waters and white rolling waves. High sand dunes dominated the coast line and 4x4 cars drove along the shores to find the best fishing spot.
A quick stop in Noosa to book some accomodation for Christmas and a walk along the beach before driving home amidst peach coloured skies as the sunset over the Glasshouse Mountains. A perfect ending to a lovely day.
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