I’ve just got back from a magical weekend on the water. Packing light and leaving the dive gear behind we headed for sunny Queensland with snorkels at the ready. Light winds and flat seas made a nice difference to some of the ocean conditions out of Melbourne recently. We launched out of the Gold Coast and tried our luck both up and down the coast. We hadn’t been on the water for long before we spotted some fellow travellers. The humpback whales migrate north up the Australian coast at this time of year. They are moving from their cold water feeding grounds with full bellies, heading into warmer waters to give birth. With a big migration underway, there are whales everywhere.
Whale spotting means looking for distinctive blow clouds, or a small dorsal fin slicing through the surface. Or, as we saw multiple times, a huge splash after a whale launched into the air and crashed back to the ocean. A long swim north requires some time to stop and play.
From the boat we could admire these huge creatures frolicking on the surface. After careful observation of their direction we hopped into the water both in front and off to the side of their travel path. Some frantic swimming and careful floating later and it was amazing to see them head towards me. The group in these photos seemed to be an adolescent with his mum, and an escort down below in the depths.
They were cruising through the blue water on their way north. The slightly smaller juvenile took his place over the top of mum. He was surfacing more regularly while the two adults stayed under the water. The escort would occasionally surface for a splash around, rolling over to get some sun on his white belly. We spent half a sunny morning watching them make their way north, before peeling off to head back to civilisation. An amazing experience.