Winter whale watching…
Summer is well and truly over here in Sydney, and the winter blues are in full force. Gone are the days of sun-soaked skin and sand filled hair. Beach bums everywhere have instinctively groaned in unison, creating the thunders we routinely hear through these troublesome months of stormy days or deceiving rays of sunshine armed with deathly chills. But, what if there was a way to get you out of the winter slum, a way to get you back out in the ocean and a reason to rise from the comforts of your blankets and Netflix binging?
Let me start by giving you the goods on our new friends, because no one goes on a blind date without a little back-story. The most common of our cetacean homies that come out to play are Humpbacks, these guys average at about 13 meters with some ranging up to around 19 meters! If you think their length is impressive then you’ll surely be checking the scale to see how you match up to their bellowing average weight of 30,000 kg. To put it technically, they are bloody massive and that’s not even comparing them to their shy cousin the blue whale - who graces us with their presence on rare occasions -matching the size of a Boeing 737. Thankfully they’ve been protected from the likes of us since 1965, and we are super grateful they don’t hold a grudge. In fact they kind of dig us a lot.
Whales demonstrate this astonishing level of trust and curiosity when it comes to humans, even mimicking our social cues approaching us regularly with their fins up for high fives. But by far one of the most intriguing things about these creatures is that researchers don’t really know for sure how they are able to sing. You know those aforementioned mediation tunes; the interesting hums that put you right to sleep. Well, Humpbacks don’t have vocal chords but since nobody puts Humpy in the corner they developed a complex way of culminating the water to let their inner Cher shine. Our waters are rich with more than 50% of these friendly goliaths so it’s really kind of rude of you not to get out there and introduce yourself to your friendly aquatic neighbour.
Whale watching is actually a pretty popular social outing, with a recorded 13 million people joining in the excitement every year. By now I’ve surely got you on board with how intriguing whales are, but I bet you’re still wondering why watching them is even enticing at all. One thing we are always going to come back to is their size, and sometimes all it takes is that. Finding yourself up close - and let me tell you it can get way closer than you think- to a creature of that size is just breathtaking. It’s that feeling you get looking out into the Grand Canyon or down at the ground from your first time in an aeroplane. That feeling of awe, almost like time is standing still and you stop and really get an understanding of how small you are in this huge world. It’s a moment of reevaluation, of contemplation, of excitement, and the rush that accompanies that is why whale watching has become so addictive to so many. Like I promised, I’m back to mentioning their size, because well they a BIG and that’s just so fascinating when you see something of that calibre leap out of the water. I’m talking full body catching some air and demonstrating some fancy twirls kind of leap. On any given whale-watching outing you’re sure to see a collection of breaching, lob tailing, and fin slapping. These cheeky acrobats love to put on a show and it makes being in their company that much more thrilling.
So get out of bed and get yourself back to the water, the winter months are when they shine due to their annual migration. You can chase them through the seas or enjoy them from vantage points on the land, they're flexible for your comfort level. They also like to travel with their sea creature friends, often you’ll find whale watching treats you with a visit from dolphins and seals as well. So let go of your preconceived ideas and take a leap (or a breach) into the growing fascination of these beautiful creatures.
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