Humpback whales

by Robin Fuller February. 01, 2021 245 views

Queensland’s coast has a migration route bringing some 33,000 humpback whales each year from the cold waters of Antarctica to calving grounds on the Great Barrier Reef. We went on a whale watching trip from Queensland's Gold Coast. The whales came close enough to watch us. Here are some shots.

A Humpback passes close by the boat, taking a look at us en route.

A Humpback passes close by the boat, taking a look at us en route.

Tail fluke slapping to pass on messages.

Tail fluke slapping to pass on messages.

Tail fluke slapping is a means of communication. The breach, another means of communication, is a leap in which at least 40% of the animal's body clears the water. If fluke slapping is talking, breaching amounts to shouting, screaming and yelling.

This Humpback seems to be mimicking the backdrop of buildings on the Gold Coast - Lord knows why! An exasperated and sarcastic comment on the folly of its human cousins maybe?

This Humpback seems to be mimicking the backdrop of buildings on the Gold Coast - Lord knows why! An exasperated and sarcastic comment on the folly of its human cousins maybe?

Most breaches end with the whale falling on its back, no doubt protecting the soft underbelly.

Most breaches end with the whale falling on its back, no doubt protecting the soft underbelly.

And then the crash - the noise must carry for miles underwater. It may just say "I'm over here" but I would guess there's a strong element of showing off too.

And then the crash - the noise must carry for miles underwater. It may just say "I'm over here" but I would guess there's a strong element of showing off too.

"Goodbye". Well it may look like "goodbye" to us but the loud slapping on the surface probably says a lot more to the other Humpbacks.

"Goodbye". Well it may look like "goodbye" to us but the loud slapping on the surface probably says a lot more to the other Humpbacks.

I was horrifed by the urbanisation of the charmingly named Gold Coast. No doubt this was once a beautiful golden coast, but that has been annihilated by gross over-development by the people who wanted to be a part of it. I am just glad that they haven't wrecked the oceanic migration route of the Humpbacks; and relieved that there are no longer whalers operating along this coast. As recently as 1978, the Federal Government commissioned an inquiry into whales and whaling. It recommended banning whaling in Australia. In April 1979, the Fraser government endorsed it - just 42 years ago. Australia is now a global anti-whaling advocate. Not a moment too soon! Now, Australia, please sort out your climate policies! It's not a moment too soon.

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Colin Massey 3 months, 4 weeks ago

33,000 migrating wales,  wow .. incredible  .. what an incredible experience to see these so close up

3 months, 4 weeks ago Edited
Fernando Bourgon 6 months ago

Spectacular. Great pictures.

6 months ago Edited
Benny Law 6 months ago

It must have been exhilarating watching these gigantic magnificent creatures at such close distances! It's so weird to see all those skyscrapers in the background though.

6 months ago Edited
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