Woke up to a glorious day – just perfect for whale watching weather. Drove into town and onto the complimentary bus, which took us up to Brunswick Heads. Here we climbed aboard our boat, put on our life jackets and tried really hard to contain our excitement. To get out of the marina we had to make our way through a narrow break with waves rolling continuously through. Apparently the company had tried to take a trip out a couple of days ago but there were so many surfers enjoying the waves at the break they couldn’t get past them so they had to turn back and cancel the trip! So glad that was not the case today.
We sat there waiting, waiting, waiting then all of a sudden the skipper called out “HOLD ON” and it was full throttle ahead as we surged forward and through the waves – Awesome fun!! Our tour leader was then in the process of offering a T-shirt for the first person to spot a whale but before he could finish his spiel there were shouts of “Whales, whales – look over there!” And sure as eggs right ahead of us we could see the splash and spouts of some whales frolicking a short distance away.
The boat headed towards them and soon we all out of our seats hoping for a closer view. There were 3 whales in this pod and they were just chilling out lazing on their backs, splashing gently about and every now and then putting their heads up out of the water to check us out. The tour guide then put a hydrophone into the water and we could hear their song as they played in the water a few metres away from us. We witnessed a few tail throws and slaps, which apparently, along with the singing, is the competitive males attempting to prove themselves to the females. Our guide explained to us that these were Humpback whales who spend the summer in the Antarctic, feeding on krill, before traveling north to the tropics during winter to breed. Once in the tropics male and female Humpback whales mate and pregnant females give birth to calves returning every year to the same area to give birth.
Soon after our arrival these guys quietened down and were not really displaying much action so we headed off towards another pod that looked a lot more active. Now we were talking – these guys were amazing. We were rewarded with plenty of tail slapping – the sound so loud it was just amazing. There was also mooing – I am serious – it was like a big “mooooo” coming from one of the whales. There was one BIG guy who was definitely trying to make a good impression and a little guy who was doing his best to copy. The mama whale often just floated on her back and as she did so the water surrounding her white belly turned this amazing deep turquoise colour. Every so often one or the other of them would poke their heads up out of the water as if taking a good look at us. Suddenly the big guy seemed to have us in his sights and he headed straight towards our boat. He was coming straight for us and then just at the last minute veered, and swam right in front of the boat over to the other side. For a few seconds we lost him – as he seemed to have submerged and then up he came! He breeched up high in the air so gracefully it was as if he was dancing – SO, SO beautiful. After what seemed like such a short time it was time for us to head back through the break to the marina. All on board agreed it had been one of the most amazing experiences we had ever had.
Once we were back in town we searched out a place where I could get a massage. My back, shoulders and neck had been so stiff and sore and I just wanted to get it all loosened up. I booked in for a 30 minute massage asking her to mainly work on my upper body but once she started working on me she said she could see I was in a lot of pain and if I could stay for the full hour she could really work to relieve a lot of the soreness. She was right about the pain – it always amazes me that something that is often portrayed, as being oh so relaxing is always excruciatingly painful for me. After the hour I certainly felt a lot looser and was really glad I had done the full hour. We then finished wandering around the town before heading back to the beach for a final look and then back to our caravan. The weather had been absolutely perfect all day but as we made our way back to the van the rain started again. Fingers crossed it won’t be raining when we pack in the morning to head off to Coffs Harbour.