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Whale and Dolphin Watching
By Joe Collins // 30 June 2010
Whale watching season runs from May through November. During this time of year, Humpback whales swim into the waters off the East Coast of Australia as they make their journey north from the chilly waters of Antarctica to the warmer waters around Hervey Bay for mating season. After mating it takes approximately 11 or 12 months for a whale to give birth. Whales also migrate to the warm waters around Hervey Bay to give birth. After giving birth, a mother whale nurses her calf and readies him or her for the journey back to Antarctica. Some lucky whale watchers have witnessed calves swimming alongside their mothers.
Australian waters are home to nearly 45 different species of whales, dolphins, and porpoises; therefore, it is fairly certain that you will see some species of whales during your whale watching voyage. Many tour operators will give you vouchers for a free whale watching cruise if you happen to not see any whales during your cruise.
For the best whale watching experience, travel north to Hervey Bay where large pods of whales gather for safety in more shallow waters. Here you can witness the majestic Humpback whales arcing above the surface before diving deep into the waters or slapping their tails on the top of the water. Humpback whales are renowned for their songs, which are made up of a variety of groans, growls, whistlings, and rumblings. If you listen carefully, you may even hear the Humpbacks sing; many tour operators provide sound amplifiers to allow whale watchers to hear the song of the Humpback whales.
While Humpback Whales are the most common whales seen in the Australian waters, Minke Whales are also very common in this area. You may want to keep a keen eye open for glimpses of Bottlenose Dolphins, Killer Whales, and Southern Right Whales. Have a look to the skies for the Royal Albatross that is often spotted off the shores of Australia.
Feel free to photograph the wildlife that you see, but don’t spend your entire time behind the camera lens. Take some photos for the scrapbook, but put the camera down and enjoy the beauty a bit.
If you are interested in whale watching or learning more about the companies that offer whale watching tours, go to the main search page and type in keyword “Whale watching” for a full listing of whale watching tours.