It is mid June 2012. I am in the galley of Wings 3, doing my thing, chopping some carrots, cruising on our way out to Blue Pearl Bay. Richie is on the bow, doing his thing, snorkel briefing and entertaining the passengers. Then suddenly, I hear a squeal from a passenger, a shout from Richie.... could it be our first whale sighting of the season?
I nearly slice myself with the knife, I'm that excited. I scramble over to grab the camera and race outside. The carrots can wait. WOW. I cannot describe the excitement, not only our first Humpback whale sighting of the season, she’s giving birth right in front of us. It was such a special moment I think I shed a tear. Even thinking about it now still gives me a thrill.
From June to September each year, the Humpback whales treat us to these extraordinary encounters and sightings almost daily throughout the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef. They travel annually to our warm waters to breed and give birth to their calves.
These majestic, 40 tonne mammals can be seen breaching, tail slapping, fin flapping and spraying from their blowholes as they frolic and play through our waters.
Whilst underwater their beautiful complex songs, which travel great distances can be heard. Whether you have just dipped your head in for a snorkel, or you are going for a Scuba dive, almost every time you submerge under water you can hear and even feel the deep rumble of the adults, and the sweet little squeaks of the juveniles. I say little but even the babies weigh approximately 700 kilograms when born, and keep growing for a further 10 years.
In the last couple of years, we have had a very special visitor in the region called Migaloo, the extremely rare all white Humpback whale. Migaloo is aboriginal for white fella, and this albino whale has been appearing off the East Coast of Australia since 1991.
If you’re worried about what Humpbacks feed on, don’t worry, it’s not us! Humpbacks filter feed on tiny crustacean, plankton and small fish and an average sized whale will gulp down 2000-2500 kilograms a day during feeding season.