Square Perspectives Photo Challenge ~ Australian Landscapes #5
Destination: Shoal Bay, New South Wales
Whale watching is a risky business. There’s never a guarantee you’ll see any, and in Australia there are maritime regulations protecting marine animals. Boats are not permitted to approach whales, so you have to wait for the whales to come to you.
At first you spend a lot of time scanning the ocean, looking for signs of life. Every whitecap catches your eye.
Suddenly there’s a telltale spray and you know there’s a whale beneath the surface.
There might just be one,
but often a pod passes by, usually a female with a couple of male escorts.
Sometimes it feels like the whales are putting on a show just for you.
You and all the other excited whale watchers!
While our travel plans are on hold I’m joining in every day with Becky’s July Square Perspectives Photo Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: photos must be square and fit the theme of perspective. My posts represent the definition of perspective as a vista – seeing something over distance or time.
With so much to see, Crackneck Point Lookout on the New South Wales Central Coast is an ideal vantage point.
The little town of The Entrance sits snugly beside the sandy curve of Shelly beach. The narrow channel the town is named for connects the vast waterways of Tuggerah Lakes to the Pacific Ocean.
Far off in the distance Norah Head Lighthouse is just visible atop Norah Head. Container ships heading towards the port at Newcastle don’t need its guiding light during the day.
The views from Crackneck Point are beautiful at any time of year but, between April and November, visitors come armed with binoculars as well as cameras.
They’re hoping to spot humpback whales.
Pods of whales migrate every winter from the Southern Ocean to the warmer waters of the Queensland coast to mate. In late spring, they return south with their newborn calves. Up to 25,000 whales make the journey every year, so it’s not unusual to see them travelling close to the coast.
The lookout at Crackneck Point is perfect for an afternoon of whale watching.
After migrating more than 4800 kilometres from the Gulf of Alaska at the end of each year, thousands of humpback whales bask in the warm waters of the Hawaiian Islands. Every morning, from our eighth floor balcony, we saw whales passing by. With coffee in one hand and binoculars in the other we scanned the ocean looking for blows. Sometimes the binoculars weren’t even necessary.
These tantalising glimpses of whales left us wanting more, so we joined an early morning whale watching tour with the Pacific Whale Foundation. The rising sun gilded the West Maui mountains as the catamaran Ocean Spirit glided effortlessly out of Lahaina’s sheltered boat harbour into Auau Channel.
Once in open water, we gathered along the railing, searching for signs that whales were about – the first blow was greeted with excited cries.
Expert commentary from our guide told us where to look and how long to wait before the whales were likely to surface again. Even though our group was large, there wasn’t a sound as we waited in anticipation. A pod of whales, at least three and sometimes up to five, rewarded our patience with their playful tail slapping and head rises.
We didn’t just see whales. When an underwater microphone was lowered into the depths, we heard their haunting whale song.
What were they calling to each other? Probably courtship songs, but I’d like to think the whales were as fascinated by us as we were by them.