Thursday, May 23, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life


A mother and her calf are officially the first two humpback whales to have been spotted in the Whitsundays, marking the beginning of the season, the first as a formally declared Whale Heritage Site.

The early sighting was claimed by a group of seafaring locals who were out filming near North Mackerel Bay on the North-eastern end of Hook Island on Tuesday this week.

A mother and calf Humpback whale were the first of the majestic mammals to be spotted in Whitsunday waters this season. Photo credit: Phil Gordon from Riptide Creative

The Whales Have Arrived!

A filming expedition on Hayman Island’s brand-new day boat, Osprey, was made even more significant with the group being the first to spot a mother and calf Humpback whale playing in the cool Whitsunday waters.

Asher Telford, the General Manager of SeaLink and former owner of Red Cat Adventures, led the maiden voyage on Osprey.

“It certainly got everyone revved up!” he expressed.

“It’s almost a month early and we were very surprised.”

Asher speculated their early arrival could be due to the cooler than usual start to the winter months.

“Everyone on board was really excited to check it out,” he shared.

“And it’s always a buzz to be the first to spot the whales at the beginning of the season.”

Phil Gordon from Riptide Creative was filming on the day and excited to generate some impressive footage of the illusive mammals in their natural habitat.

“We first saw the baby as it did a full breach out of the water,” he explained.

“Then we waited until it surfaced again and that’s when we got the photos.”

From June to September each year thousands of Humpback whales travel from the icy temperatures of the Antarctic and come to the warmer waters of the Whitsundays to give birth and nurture their calves during the first few months of their lives.

The Whitsundays tour operators, Traditional Owners and broader community are known for respecting and encouraging the global best practice in the preservation of these protected creatures along with other cetaceans.

There are several citizen science programs operating and a dedicated group called Whales of the Whitsundays (WOW) which all help to provide a safe environment for the migrating mammals.

It is thanks to the efforts of WOW that the Whitsundays was officially named a Whale Heritage Site by the World Cetacean Alliance in March this year.

The Whitsundays is only the second such site to be designated in Australia and the first to be designated inside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the only site in the world to be in a UNESCO World Heritage Area.

The certification puts the region on the map with Hervey Bay, the only other designated site in Australia.

Following the early sighting this week, it is expected that more Humpback whales will be arriving any time now.

The first two Humpback Whales made a surprise visit during the maiden voyage of Osprey. Photo credit: Riptide Creative

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