humpbacks at Hervey Bay

Yesterday the wind was blowing at 20 knots, twice the rate it was today.  The sea swell was around 1.4 metres as we set off to Platypus Bay to see humpback whales.

This map is from Queensland-Australia.com and is provided for my map-loving reader as a last indicator of where we are at the end of our 12 week adventure.

Queensland - map of Fraser Island regionMarina

From the marina, it was nearly an hour before we were in the whales’ rest and recreation area. The mothers certainly need the rest after giving birth to their calves and before heading back to Antarctic waters. Hervey Bay is where mother whales fatten up their ‘small’ ones with up to 200 litres of milk per day before heading back to their own food source of krill in the Southern Ocean.

I was hopeful of catching some magic shots of breaching and tail waving.  Instead we were treated to mostly mother and calf pods. As the calves are feeding (and with 200 litres to consume it must be for a good portion of the day), they were the ones surfacing for a breather before the next drink. We saw the occasional mother near the surface. They apparently tend to stay underwater in either vertical or sideways position to feed their offspring.  The males were even less obvious, although the hydrophone dropped in to the water indicated that they were around as pod escorts.

The large swell and the necessity to mostly hang on to the boat (and the camera) meant that today’s shots were going to be hit or miss.  This is the best of a blurry lot.
Humpback watching 2Humpback watching 1Humpback watching 3

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