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humpback

Listen: Hear humpback whales sing at Hervey Bay!

Add a new dimension to your whale watching experience by visiting Hervey Bay in September – it’s the best time to hear humpback whales sing.

Pacific Whale Foundation senior research biologist Stephanie Stack said only mature whales sang and this month was when most started arriving in Hervey Bay for their migratory stopover.

She said songs would typically last for about 20 minutes but individual whales might sing incomplete songs or repeat songs several times. 

Humpback whales can sing for hours on end. Singers will surface every 10 to 20 minutes and keep singing with only short pauses to breathe,” Ms Stack said.

“Songs have a hierarchical organization with ‘units’ building into ‘phrases’ which, in turn, form ‘themes’ which, together, comprise the song.”

She said there was no consensus in the scientific community about the function of whale songs but communicating underwater was challenging.

“Light and smells don’t travel well but sound moves about four times faster in water than in air, which means marine mammals often use sounds to communicate,” Ms Stack explained.

“Most song occurs in breeding areas, but song has also been recorded along migration routes and even occasionally in feeding areas.”

Ms Stack said there were several theories about the purpose of humpback whale song including attracting females to individual singers or a group and communicating with other mature whales for dominance or cooperation.

“Female humpbacks rarely approach singing males, suggesting the song may represent a form of male-male acoustic display,” Ms Stack said.

She said noise pollution was a growing concern for researchers.

“Increasing noise in the ocean could cause a disruption of natural whale behaviour such as feeding, mating and communication.”

Pacific Whale Foundation researchers using underwater microphones, known as hydrophones, have recorded rare white humpback whale Migaloo singing in Hervey Bay.

“Some mature males may arrive early while others may remain longer, meaning song could potentially be heard in Hervey Bay at any point during the season.”

oceans

Festival promises oceans of fun in Hervey Bay, Qld

 Succulent seafood, colourful parades, fireworks, culture, music and oceans experts will be coming in waves when the Fraser Coast splashes out with the annual Hervey Bay Ocean Festival, presented by USC from August 11-20.

From its official opening featuring a presentation from acclaimed conservationist Tim Flannery, to the Blessing of the Fleet on August 12, the Hervey Bay Seafood Festival on August 13, the Whale Festival Parade and Concert on August 19 and the Paddle Out for Whales on August 20 – it is a celebration not to be missed.

Martin Simons, General Manager for Fraser Coast Tourism and Events, said this year’s Ocean Festival, presented by USC was shaping up to be a fantastic time for the region.

“Once again a fabulous program of events has been arranged providing a great drawcard for locals and visitors alike,” Mr Simons said.

“The event continually grows in popularity with people enjoying fresh local seafood and great entertainment. The event also highlights important conservation messages needed to sustain the famous humpback whale migration patterns so beneficial to our region.

“We would like to congratulate Professor Tim Flannery, the 2007 Australian of the Year, who will be receiving an Honorary Doctorate from USC for his exemplary leadership in advocating for the environment.

“We are extremely pleased to have a supporter with the gravitas of the USC, which has come on board this year as a major sponsor of the festival,” Mr Simons said. 

Professor Flannery’s honorary award ceremony will take place at the Hervey Bay Beach House Hotel from 4-5pm on August 11 where he will deliver a public address on the social and economic opportunities of a carbon-negative future.

Further Event Highlights

Blessing of the Fleet (Saturday August 12): The Fraser Coast’s famous fleet of whale watch boats will be blessed in a centuries-old tradition at Hervey Bay Marina to ensure a safe and prosperous season.

Visitors can tour the many whale watch vessels, wander through market stalls packed with locally made arts and crafts, enjoy a sail past and watch the fabulous fireworks and live entertainment.

Hervey Bay Seafood Festival (Sunday August 13): The following day, August 13, offers something for all tastes. Hosted by the local industry, the event serves up a host of fresh and delicious wild-caught ocean produce, loads of entertainment, competitions, cooking and fish catching tips and much more at Fishermen’s Park, Urangan Boat Harbour.

Highlights of this year’s Seafood Festival include a bumper artistic, music and cultural program with performances by 8 Ball Aitken, Night Kite and The Dennis Sisters plus the chance to win a gate prize of hand-crafted earrings thanks to long-time festival supporters Haigh’s Jewellery.

Other tasty morsels include cooking demonstrations from leading chefs including Javier Codina from Moda Restaurant, seafood and fish-smoking masterclasses, a prawn eating competition, sideshow alley and loads of freebies.

Don’t miss the eclectic work of regional artists at Art in the Park including Butchulla art and weaving displays and the amazing recycled metal creations of Bundaberg-based sculptor John Olsen – new to this year’s program.

Whale Parade and Concert (Saturday August 19): Be enchanted by the colourful display of lights and floats representing the humpback’s annual migration, followed by a fabulous free concert with leading Australian and local artists on August 19. This year’s event has a Beach Party theme, so bring your beach ball and sarong to get in on the fun.

Paddle Out for Whales (Sunday August 20): This conservation and awareness-based event on August 20 is full of heart with visitors encouraged to jump aboard a paddleboard, kayak or boat to celebrate a love of whales in the whale-watching capital of the world. Enjoy a fun family day complete with Hawaiian dancing workshops, sand sculpting with Dennis Massoud and much more.

More Information: For full event information including times and the many further events that play part of the Hervey Bay Ocean Festival calendar, please head to oceanfestival.com.au.

 

real deal

Hearing the real deal about uni

A REALITY show came to Hervey Bay and Childers on February 17, 2015, giving more than 700 Year 11 and 12 students the real deal about university life.

Urangan State High School Year 12 Co-ordinator Meade Barnes said the students were excited to have people from five universities, Defence Force Recruiting and TAFE Queensland come to their schools for this year’s Uni Showcase.

“I’ve asked the students for feedback and the vast majority said they’ve taken a lot away from the event, particularly about the costs of living, what university life is really like, and what it means to prepare for uni in terms of self-motivation,” Mr Barnes said.

“They’re definitely more inspired now to consider their higher education options after they finish Year 12.”

Uni Showcase is being hosted this week by the University of Southern Queensland (USQ), as part of a series organised by the Queensland Chapter of the National Association of Prospective Student Advisers (QNAPSA).

Uni Showcase presented to 14 schools across the Fraser and Cooloola coasts.

Participating institutions were University of Southern Queensland (USQ), Australian Catholic University, Central Queensland University, Queensland University of Technology, University of Sunshine Coast, TAFE Queensland and Defence Force Recruiting.

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Caption: Urangan State High School students (l-r) Dru Hinds, Morena Tirona and Matthew Verbruggen explore their higher education options at Uni Showcase.