Before going on my trip, I sat down and had a long talk with Jon on what were the things I should be doing there. Jon being Jon gave me all sorts of outdoors-y, nature recommendations such as: hiking, glow worm cave and whale watching. Whale watching was something I had noticed myself before but the price per person was pretty steep so I put it out of my mind. However, Jon gushed about how it was the highlight of his year and that we just had to go for it. Luckily for me, the boo’s parents were on the same wavelength and they bought the Sea World and Whale Watching combo ticket.
The day we went whale watching, the sun was high in the sky. Armed with my telephoto lens, I was in high spirits. The boat we were ferried it was a solid one with luxurious leather seats and large LCD screens where animated infographics were played during our journey out to sea.
Jason was trying to re-enact the scene from Titanic at the front of the boat. Everybody at the front of the boat was laughing like mad watching us lol.
A 3D birds-eye view of our boat’s location in real-time. Was very impressed with the graphics and how smooth the transitions were.
Whales are prevalent along the Gold Coast because of the humpback whale’s migrating pattern from colder waters in the South Pole to warmer waters in Gold Coast. The mother whales travel to the South Pole in their pregnancy and give birth to their calves in GC to avoid the orcas who would prey on the small calves in the South Pole.
After giving birth and when the calf is large enough, the mother whale (with the escort of other male whales) travel back to colder waters. During this period, many whales are easily sighted along the Gold Coast.
The first whale we saw, everybody was going crazy taking pictures and ooh-ing and aah-ing over it.
The glorious breaching that I felt very fortunate to be able to capture. A total of three whales breached on that day which according to the guide is more activity than she’s seen in the past few weeks.
The aftermath of a whale breaching.
The whales poke their head out of the water because they get curious about their surroundings.
Whale breaching over the Gold Coast city skyline.
Near the end of the session a pod of whales came up super close to our boat. Seeing such a majestic creature at such a close range made me feel really small and insignificant, and also really allowed me to properly look at it’s beauty. Having the opportunity to watch wild whales and their behavioural patterns really awed me. Jon was right, it was the most glorious thing I had ever seen.
I loved the majesty of these huge yet calm creatures so much that I almost wanted to be a whale, except the boo reminded me of inexplicable whale beaching and orcas (or killer whales).
The only downside of whale watching was that I developed a very bad headache for the next 2 days due to too much sun exposure and concentrating too hard on my camera viewfinder on a rocky boat. It was so bad that I almost felt like vomiting and had to sleep with my eyes closed all the way back to land. My sunburn was also mostly caused by being out on the boat at 11am in the morning (don’t forget Australian sun) with no sunblock, and after that day my skin started to peel horrifically. However, it was worth all that just to watch the beautiful whales. :)