‘Tis the season to see humpback whales in the wild
What could be more idyllic than a perfect day in paradise, watching majestic humpback whales breaching and blowing?
The moment we stepped onboard Whale One with Sunreef Mooloolaba at The Wharf, it was obvious we were in for an exceptional whale-watching tour.
The blue sky stretched endlessly above us, and the glittering ocean below was (almost) smooth as glass.
The excited chatter of fellow travellers filled the air; some had seen whales before, but for many, it was their whale-watching debut.
Dolphins frolicking and humpbacks breaching gave us an amazing tour filled with new experiences.
Whether you’re an experienced ocean explorer or just looking to try something new, this is certainly a day trip not to be missed.
Our tour went like this…
Experience the thrill of whale watching in paradise
Welcome aboard, mates! Captain Paul here, with our trusty crew – Heidi, Savannah and Rebecca, and our assistant Dan (aka Salty)… although none of us really knows what he does!
Now, Heidi gave us a great rundown on the boat’s safety features and what to do if you’re feeling seasick.
If you are, head downstairs where the boat is more stable and where you can get some fresh air. The top deck can get a bit rocky!
And hey, let’s not forget the open bar with delicious cocktails, chips, and snacks on offer.
But all that doesn’t compare to the sight we’re hoping to see – the majestic humpback whales! These creatures have been around for millions of years, and they’ve got some awesome skills to show off.
Keep your eyes peeled for breaches, where they jump out of the water and land with a tremendous splash, or the blow that comes from a hole on top of their head; you’ll see a huge puff of air for about five seconds, shooting up to four to five metres in height.
We’ve got everyone on whale patrol, so if you spot anything, call it out, loud and proud, like we’re a clock – 12 o’clock for anything on the bow, 6 o’clock on the stern, 3 o’clock on the starboard side, and 9 o’clock on the port side – and estimate the distance, if you can.
It could be whales, dolphins, or any other sea creatures surfacing.
Today’s a calm day, which should make it easier to spot whales… unless they decide to hold their breath for up to 45 minutes! But they usually only hold it for 5 to 15 minutes on their migration, as they are now, on their way from the Antarctic, through Sunshine Coast waters to Hervey Bay & K’gari.
As we leave Mooloolaba for our four-hour tour, be sure to take in the beautiful scenery.
Get your binoculars ready for a whale adventure
As soon as the music started playing, a group of young adults started dancing on the top deck. The playlist included hits such as Notion by Kings of Leon, Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine Show, and No Ceiling by Eddie Vedder.
Australia has a whopping 45 species of whales, but on this trip, we were on the lookout for the humpbacks. They’re usually easy to spot thanks to their unique features–a sleek dark grey or black body with white patches along the belly, and pectoral fins.
Heidi, one of the knowledgeable crew members, said to watch for blows in the distance. If you spot a whale’s tail popping up and diving, it’s a good sign they’re preparing to breach. After about 15 minutes, the colossal creature emerges from the water.
At around 9 o’clock (port side), we had our first sighting of a humpback’s body near the surface.
Later, about two and a half hours into the trip, we experienced what we had all been waiting for–a stunning double breach at around 3 o’clock (stern side), some 100 to 200 meters away from us.
The crowd erupted into a chorus of “oohs” and “ahs.”
Some of us were lucky enough to witness these majestic creatures for the first time, while others were back for another round.
Marie Walton-Mahon OAM, from PBT (Progressing Ballet Technique) Dance, had booked her third cruise with Sunreef Mooloolaba.
The company offers a 100% guarantee that you’ll see a whale or the next trip is on them. Marie noted that on her two previous trips, the most exciting animals she saw were pelicans.
On this trip, a very excited Marie exclaimed, “Those two that were jumping up and down, synchronised, were absolutely spectacular! Happy days! It was a sublime day in paradise!”
“A sublime day in paradise!” – Whale watcher Marie Walton-Mahon OAM.
Sail away to encounter whales with Sunreef Mooloolaba
All things considered, this day of whale watching was an incredible one. We could not have asked for a better experience; the crew was incredibly friendly and helpful, and they kept the amenities immaculate.
We’d highly suggest to anyone looking for a similar activity, that they join a Sunreef whale-watching tour. The scenery and wildlife around us were breathtaking; it truly felt like paradise.
For an unforgettable experience filled with fun and excitement, head over to the Sunreef website (https://Sunreef Mooloolaba.com.au/whales/) and book your tickets.
Humpback whales generally come to the Queensland coast from late Autumn to late Spring. During this time, they migrate through Sunshine Coast waters to Hervey Bay & K’gari where you can catch mothers with their newborn calves, and on to the Great Barrier Reef before returning south again.
Spectacular views, chance encounters with some lovely ocean life, and a friendly, knowledgeable crew are all worth it. Happy sailing!
Check out this amazing video from FoodWinePetsTravel!
Jocelyn Magazine and FoodWinePetsTravel were guests of Sunreef Mooloolaba and Visit Sunshine Coast.
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