David Jenkins, photographer and avid whale watcher said that Sunday 18th September’s whale watching was the best he’d ever experienced in five years here in Sydney.
Heading north from the heads about 10am for more than an hour, we cruised, looking without success. Off Mona Vale beach about 7km out and fast running out of time, one of the passengers asked if we thought that blow off to the north was a whale?
Suddenly it seemed like the sea was full of whales? One, two, then two more pods all around us! Dave, the Captain, stopped the boat so that we could work out where all the pods were and which way they were travelling. The nearest pod seemed to have turned towards us and within minutes we were the ones being checked out.
Over the next half an hour the four Humpbacks swam around and under the boat. I watched one whale glide under us on its back, its white belly, tail and peck fins glowing in the water like a giant angel. What a magic experience to see, hear and smell (let me tell you, you don’t want to be downwind of a blow!) these animal up so close.
To the south the horizon had disappeared heralding the arrival of the southerly buster. It was an amazing sight to see a southerly come in over Sydney from out to sea. It’s quite eerie to see the coast disappear in haze and the sea go from calm to raging in a just a few moments. By the time we arrived back at The Heads the swell had picked up to about a metre and the afternoon run back wasn’t looking so good.
Humpbacks swim out to sea and use the free ride south provided by Eastern Australian Current for their southern migration. So the majority of the whales are ten plus km out to sea at this time of year. 10km is a long way in rough seas I must admit I wasn’t looking forward to a long and bumpy ride home.
Just as we were about to enter the harbour we spotted another pod just off North Head as they started out to sea for an afternoon of fun. Not only that but there seemed to be a flying lesson going on? The teenager of the group seemed absolutely determined to spend more time hanging air than swimming about. What a sight, over two hours of jumping, leaping and general misbehaviour from North Head to Bondi. Brilliant!
David Jenkins spent the day with Sydney Fast Ferries new whale watching tours.
The Humpback whales are right now passing Sydney on their way to their feeding grounds in the Southern Ocean. The whales have spent the winter in the warmer waters of Harvey Bay to calve and are now returning to Antarctic waters.