MIGALOO, the most famous white whale since Moby Dick, made a splash off Port Stephens on Friday as he heads north for tropical waters.
The famous humpback dubbed the Holy Grail of whale watching attracted a flotilla of watchers as he cruised past the region at a steady four knots (8km/hr).
The whale’s arrival came just a day after he entertained Sydney spotters heading past Cronulla.
While some feared Migaloo would steer away from the region’s coast and make it north unseen, he delivered one spectacular breach in perfect conditions about three miles off Port Stephens late on Friday.
Imagine Cruises skipper Frank Future, whose crew member Lisa Skelton captured the leaping whale, said he had been waiting years to spot the spectacular creature in the flesh.
‘‘He’s not got a barnacle on him,’’ Mr Future said.
‘‘He’s just like marble.’’
A week from Saturday marks 23 years since a white whale was first photographed passing Byron Bay.
Named Migaloo after a Queensland Aboriginal community’s word for ‘‘white fella’’, he was the world’s only known all-white humpback until MJ, or Migaloo Junior, was found in 2011.
Mr Future said Migaloo was travelling north as part of the annual northern migration, when humpbacks abandon their Antarctic feeding grounds for warmer waters to the north for breeding before they return in September.
While Migaloo was the main attraction, Mr Future said he was far from lonely as he swam past Anna Bay and Port Stephens.
‘‘He had a cluster of whales around him, he’s a popular lad,’’ Mr Future said.