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The Adventure ....

 
  
 

 
 
ships log
Saturday 11th August 2007
Platypus Bay, Fraser Island

Like so many, we’d “been there, done that” re: the Harvey Bay weekend whale watching tourist cruises and whilst we’d had wonderful times, the experience was always rushed – leave Brisbane early Friday afternoon to try to beat peak traffic, check into the Hotel before reception closes for the night, next day queueing up with everyone else, share the experience with 100+ people, drive back to Brisbane early Sunday afternoon to beat the traffic pouring back into Brisbane for Monday morning back to work.

So here we are at Fraser Island with no deadlines or schedule - and at the right time of the year for the whale migration. We’d overnighted in Platypus Bay with a slight north-west and gentle swell (didn’t have a choice of anchorages and it wasn’t too unpleasant). We awoke to a beautiful calm day – no wind, no waves, sea dead flat - perfect whale watching weather.

Rules and regulations for whale watching are no more than 3 boats at a time, keep 300m distance from mothers with calves, 100m distance in other cases, unless the whales approach. The whale watching boats chatter on VHF radio gave us info on good sightings and that there were 2 very friendly whales in our immediate vicinity, some 6 nautical miles off Triangle Cliffs, so we motored on over.

We spotted the whales. A whale watching boat and 2 other fishing motor boats were already in the area so we cut our motor, hoisted the main sail for some stability and steerage, and decided to drift until we could get closer. But within minutes the whales had spotted us. They immediately left the other boats and started swimming over. You feel very small and vulnerable when comparing the size of your boat to the bulk of the whales – for a few minutes, a small feeling of panic – how do we cope with this ?

But it didn’t take long for the panic attack to be replaced with absolute amazement and wonder. We had our inflatable tied off at the back of the boat and the whales immediately went to investigate. Round and round they swam, gently coming up for air and lifting their great heads out of the water to have a better look.

They then noticed Brian and I on board and were definitely interested in having a very good look at us. The whales tracked us as we moved around the boat. It’s quite mind blowing to make eye contact with such an incredibly large animal and know that you’re in no danger what so ever – there was no doubt that a connection was being made, with each creature being just as inquisitive about the other.

Despite their size, their agility and gentleness were amazing. Not once did they bump into each other, touch the boat or make any waves. Each time they dived under the boat, they would clear the bottom of the keel by mere centimeters and when they came up close to the boat, we could’ve reached out and touch them if we wanted to. They were amazingly supple and could turn in the water just like a seal.

The whales stayed with us for a remarkable hour and we took 70+ pic’s, some of which we’ve posted so you can see the experience we had. It was very hard to pick the best, so we hope that these will convey what was a truely amazing experience.

Stay well - B & G

How close can you get to a whale ....