Hervey Bay: Round One

Trip Start Nov 16, 2008
Trip End Dec 31, 2008

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Where I stayed
Colonial Cabins Resort Hervey Bay

Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Monday, April 6, 2009

hi everyone!

for the past three days i've been in the lovely little seaside town of Hervey Bay (pronounced HAR-vee Bay). i came up here to pursue the possibility of getting work on a few of the whale watching boats that are based here. if you read anything about Hervey Bay you'll most likely read how proud they are to call themselves the whale watching capital of Australia, perhaps even the world.

the Southern Hemisphere humpback population migrates every year in May or June, leaving the cold waters of Antarctica to travel up the Eastern coast of Australia, eventually stopping in the warm waters of tropical Queensland to have their young. Hervey Bay is an important resting spot for the whales (especially for the new moms and their calves) on their return journey back to the nutrient-rich waters of the Antarctic, and most will stay anywhere from august to november. people come from all over to experience a moment with these gentle giants and the whale watching companies claim the conditions in the bay are like nowhere else in the world. protected by the large sand-island national park of Fraser Island, the waters of Hervey Bay stay calm almost year round and with it's light blue color it offers premium viewing conditions. many of the vessels are medium to small-sized (some even catamaran sailboats) so in most cases you are standing with less than 70 people down at water level, eye-to-eye with the whales; an experience that is sure to impress. some of the tours may carry as few as 15 people!

i have interviewed with three of the companies in the marina and so far one of them has offered me a few days each week during the whale season (july-nov) and i'm waiting to hear from the other two in about a week or so. i have met many of the owners and skippers of the boats as well as crew members and everyone is very friendly. it looks like i may have found a place to stay as well, really close to the marina, so i'm stoked about too. i was even able to go out on a sunset sail with one of the companies --the Blue Dolphin-- to get a feel for the boat, and it was great. we saw tons of sea turtles and even a small pod of bottlenose dolphins! i really hope the other two jobs work out as this looks like an amazing spot to spend some time out on the water.

but since whale season doesn't begin until at least the second week of july i have to find something to occupy my time until then. so i have decided to head to the Great Barrier Reef! tomorrow night i will be traveling about 8 hours north to the town of Airlie Beach which is the gateway for the holiday hotspot of the Whitsundays. the 74 islands that comprise the Whitsunday archipelago are probably the best known of Queensland's islands. since they are protected by the Reef they offer countless secluded anchorages which have in turn attracted sailboats and yachts of all shapes and sizes to make a permenant berth in Airlie Beach. it is a sailor's heaven. not to mention premo access to superb diving and snorkling conditions on the Reef. Whitsunday Island, the largest of the group, is famous for the most photographed beach in Australia: Whitehaven Beach. the pure-white silicon sand can be dazzling on a sunny day and contrasted with the aqua blue of the shallow lagoons it is paradise without a doubt.

i hope to work in Airlie Beach for a few months, preferably on a sail or dive tour (since there are so many) and if i can swing it, i'd love to get up to Cairns. but one step at a time, right?

stay tuned for updates over the next few weeks as i'm sure my plans will be evolving as i go.

love you all and talk to you soon!
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