I had a whale of a time in Sydney last weekend when I joined Oz Whale Watching as a guest on one of their tours, it was a humbling experience.
I joined their Saturday morning breakfast cruise which left the docks at Darling Harbour around 8am.
The catamaran was spacious and I found a seat on the upper deck, as we made our way up the harbour to the ‘heads’ (harbour entrance).
It was a glorious day with a big blue sky and sunshine that wasn’t too scorching.
Our guide introduces himself as Biggles, (a self-declared ‘whale tragic’ who goes whale watching on his days off!) and he gives us a commentary about the history and sights of Sydney Harbour.
As luck would have it we spot whales as soon as we clear the headland, and before long we find ourselves in the company of some magnificent humpbacks; a mother with her calf and a male chaperone for protection.
They are magical huge graceful creatures, arching out of the water and delighting us with tail flicks, waving fins as if to say hello.
After a few minutes at the surface the whales dive down and we scan the water guessing where they will pop up next.
For the next couple of hours we slowly follow the whales down the coastline (keeping far enough away to avoid impacting their behaviour).
Biggles has been following the whales for 20 years and he regales us with insights about their behaviour and life cycle. Sadly their history is not a good one, with whale hunting a big industry in the area during the 1900’s. Thankfully whale numbers are increasing and according to the CSIRO the population is healthy again.
Whale watching offers a chance to get up close and personal with the humpbacks. It’s is a special experience that can be appreciated by young and old. Once you’ve seen them, you want nothing more than their safe return….
Tips for whale watching:
- Whale watching season runs from May to November (from mid-August – October you will often see their new born calves).
- Wear polarised sunglasses to reduce glare from the sea.
- Bring a hat, sunscreen, water bottle and jacket.
- If you think you there’s a chance you might get seasick take a tablet before you get on the boat. Ginger pills are excellent for nausea. (Pop some peppermints in your bag too, in case you need to freshen up, if you know what I mean).
- Getting out on the boat gives you some excellent photo opportunities of Sydney Harbour so take your camera with you.
- But don’t forget to put your camera down so you can be in the moment and appreciate the whales when they come to say hello.
- Joining the breakfast cruise means you avoid the heat of the afternoon sun, and you get back in time for lunch so you still have the rest of the day to explore Sydney.
Whale watching experience: $94 (includes a light breakfast)
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Oz Whale Watching, thanks guys!