Friday, August 22, 2014

The Whales at Hervey Bay

At Easter, we had a good chat with the fellow who sold us our tickets for our Fraser Island day trip. The whale watching season here is quite long, but he suggested the best time was about mid August.
So as you read 2 post ago, we went up last week.
We had a wonderful day. It may have been windy and the water rough with heavy rain squalls coming across, but it didn't matter. We saw lots of whales.
When looking at the photos remember we were too busy just enjoying the day and whales, trying to keep the camera dry and making sure we hung on to a rail to stop falling. I won't tell you about going to the toilet on a rocking and rolling boat. Let's just say it was a challenge.

We chose Freedom III. It was a 3/4 day trip, much better than a 1/2 day morning or afternoon trip. You just get out there when it's nearly time to turn for home. Their need to return worked in our favour, but I'll explain later. The 2.30pm return time is a bit flexible. The trip, the day before ours, got home at 5.30pm. Our Captain Keith has no problem with going further out to sea and staying out longer if it means his passengers get to see whales. We were luckier in that we didn't need to go past Platypus Bay to see whales. We were still 'late' back at 4.30.

Here I am ready to go - a real bundle of style. As least I'm dry in this photo. There was plenty of undercover if I had wanted it, but not being a great sailor, I prefer to be out in the fresh air.

 You can just see the front of another boat in the above photo. The rules are the boat's engines must be off  when within (I think) 100 meters of a whale and they cannot be started until the whale moves away regardless of your need to go. The captain of that boat invited us nearer in the hope that the mugging whales would move to our boat as he needed go back to port to get his next tour group. This happened to us twice. See this is the reason to go on a longer day trip. Those other people missed out on so much.
'Mugging' is when the whales come to you. It happened to us several times. There is no feeding of these beautiful creatures to entice them close, very much not allowed. They come of their own accord. They are just as interested in looking at us as we are looking at them. We, the passengers, are encouraged to wave our arms and yell out to get their attention.No banging of rails as the noise upsets them, just lots of yahooing. The whales are probably laughing at our silly antics.

Tickle my tummy.

There are three whales in this shot.

None of the above photos are zoom shots. The whales were that close. One of them circled the boat. I think it was a game - let's see if we can get those humans to run about the boat.

 There was lots of peekaboo,

lots of tail waving

 and lots of breaching. We were very privileged to have a full body breach close to the boat. No photo of that one - too busy watching.
Next time we go, I'm getting a go pro camera stuck to my hat. That way I can just watch and not worry about the camera but still catch all the action.
I can recommend our boat - Freedom III. The captain is also a chef, so morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea - delicious, especially the profiteroles! If you do go with this group, don't plan to drive any long distance after the cruise. Plan to stay the night, as I said, the return time could be later than planned.
We were lucky on the day. Not every cruise see as many whales or so close. It is the luck of the draw.
Whales are beautiful creatures. It was wonderful to see them.
Take care,


Fiona said...

Beautiful... one of the best experiences I have ever had was the whales... I am jealous of you...very very jealous....

Susan said...

You have getting around lately - the whales would be gorgeous I am sure you don't realise how gorgeous until you see them yourself - I never have - maybe one day - and I've never been to Fraser island - after your tale I'm not so sure I need to go.

Maree: said...

Great photos Cheryl glad you had a Great Time

Chookyblue...... said...

one day I will do this..........amazing experience........

Anita said...

Wow, brilliant trip! We did one a while ago, but the whales were nowhere near as close.

Janice said...

Lucky you to see so many whales. They are such amazing creatures. Something we hope to do one day.