Bobbing along, singing a song....

Trip Start Sep 01, 2010
Trip End Jun 18, 2011

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Flag of Australia  , New South Wales,
Tuesday, October 26, 2010

With no other people walking in and out of our dorm room we managed to catch up on some sleep and had a lovely lie-in this morning. Our whale watching boat trip was due to leave at 1pm so by the time we had got up, had some breakfast and walked down to the dock we were ready for the off. And I don't think we could have picked a nicer day for it; today was the sunniest day of our time in Oz so far! Our boat for the day was a little fishing-type boat that didn't have more than 25 people on it, so we had plenty of room to move about- plus they had free tea and coffee which we were very happy to take advantage of! Rather than leaving from the main habour where the Opera House is we decided to depart from Darling Harbour so that we could watch the views as we came around the corner and saw the main harbour in all its glory. We had been thinking about going on a boat trip in order for us to see the harbour properly, so this was a great opportunity for us to get a free sightseeing trip at the same time as going whale watching. From the main harbour we sailed out for about an hour until the skyscapers were just a blur in the background. Tom and I were sitting at the front of the boat and once we got out into the ocean we started to get drenched from the spray. In the distance we could see another whale watching boat bobbing along and we seemed to be heading straight for it... we were all getting excited that they had spotted something in the water. We got about 25 meters away from the other boat when our captain killed the engines on our boat and we floated along for a few mintues. The captain had told us that the easiest way to spot a whale was to look out for a spray of water or the flip of a tail, so we all had our eyes peeled out into the horizon. A few minutes later some people noticed a plume of water being sprayed out of the water... the next thing we knew the grey hump of a whale crested out of the water and a huge pointed tail flicked out behind it. Our first whale sighting! And it was only about 100 meters away from us. It was an absolutely beautiful sight and one that we will never forget. We learnt that the whale we had just seen was a humpback whale and that they are currently migrating from the north down southwards past Sydney Harbour Bay. Once a whale has surfaced for air it will go back down under water again and can stay there for quite a long time, so it was an anxious wait to see if it would surface again near us anytime soon. Well luckily it surfaced again in exactly the same spot and this time we could see that there were two of them; one larger and one smaller, so I'm guessing they were a mother and baby. The two hours on the boat were amazing; the boat was absolutely silent as we peacefully bobbed along waiting to see if the whales would surface again. Whenever we did see a whale all you could hear the soft gasps of people and their cameras clicking, no one talked because we didn't want to break the magic spell of being so peaceful. The other boat which was near us would get a lot closer to the whale than we would and after a while another smaller jetboat turned up. From here these two boats would speed off everytime we saw a whale and get really close and by doing this they would scare the whales off back under water. The little jetboat especially would get so close they were practically sitting on top of the whales. I was starting to get really upset that they were being so insensitive as by getting so close and going so fast they were ruining the experiece for everyone. Luckily both these boats had to leave soon after and we were left in the open ocean by ourselves for another hour or so. After a while we left this pod of whales and moved to see another one further north. There were 4 whales in this pod and although we didn't get to spend much time with them they were fantastic! These four were playing and jumping all over each other, hurtling themselves out of the water and leaving huge frothy waves behind them. Unfortunately we didn't get many photos of them because by the time we had seen them and pressed the button on the camera they had already gone. We stayed with this pod for about half and hour and then it was time to go back inland. On the way back in we got a call from the sea-police to tell us that a little 2-man fishing boat had run out of fuel in the bay and asked if we could tow it back to the harbour. When we approached the little boat the two guys inside looking very sheepish and it took us ages to slowly tow them back to their harbour. Back on dry land we were both quite overwhelmed at how many whales we had got to see, 6 humpbacks in total! It had been a beautiful day and an unforgettable experience; once again we are just so grateful for having the opportunity to do things like this.      
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