Posts by Category: Whale Watching

Which Whale is Which? – Southern Right Whale

Friday 19th August 2011

When you take a look at most Australian Whale Watching websites, you are sure to see pictures of Humpback Whales breaching out of the water or showing off their impressive tail flukes as they go on a sounding dive. Humpback whales are the most common whale to encounter on the Eastern coastline of Australia, how ever they are not the only species of whale we see on our cruises.

Over the last few weeks Port Stephens and Nelson Bay has seen an influx of visits with Southern Right Whales. These whales are highly endangered and scientists estimate there may only be 5,000 (five thousand) left in the entire world! Last season (2010) Imagine had visits with around 6 Southern Right Whales, including some newborn calves. This season so far we have had visits with at least 8 Southern Right Whales, including calves and we have heard from the other companies of around 6 more while our boat has been out of the water! Hopefully this means will we get to see a lot more of these friendly whales in the coming years.

The most distinguishing feature of Southern right whales is a series of natural growths called callosities on the front of the rostrum or head. The largest of these callosities is called the ‘bonnet’. Callosities are also found on the whale’s chin, on the sides of the head, on the lower lips, above the eyes, and near the blowholes.

Southern right whale (Eubalaena australis)

Length: Adults: 14 m to 18 m;

Calves: 5 m to 6 m at birth

Weight: Adults: up to 80 tonnes;

Calves: 1 to 1.5 tonnes at birth

Gestation: 11 to 12 months

Weaning age: 11 to 12 months

Calving interval: Generally 3 years

Sexual maturity: Age: 8 to 10 years

Mating season: July to August

Calving season: June to August

Cruising speed: 3 km/hr

Blow pattern: V-shaled bushy blow to 5 m

Protected: Since 1935

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The Whale watching week that wasn’t!

Saturday 23rd July

Did anyone notice the weather this week..? The Nelson Bay Whale Watching cruise boats were tucked up in the safety of their docks for most of this week as the Port Stephens coast played host to some extreme weather conditions. But do not despair…!

We grabbed a screen shot from a weather site today that shows by Monday we should be back to some excellent Whale and Dolphin watching weather as the huge swell and seas and strong winds ease.

What do Whales and Dolphins do in bad weather?

Many people wonder what happens to the whales and Dolphins when the seas are rough..? Well the short answer is not to much at all! Like most animals, Humpback Whales and Dolphins are very well adjusted to their climate. The Humpbacks spend half of the year in the freezing waters of the Antarctic which makes them fairly comfortable in the wind and rain. Both Dolphins and Whales are born with and then continue to grow a warm layer of fat to protect them from the cold water. However I do suspect that like myself they do prefer the warm sunshine.

This week while most people were snuggled up in doors staying dry, the Humpback Whales would have continued their northern migration past Port Stephens. When the swell is larger, it is not uncommon to see the Humpbacks having a bit of a surf in the swell to help them along! The sightings before this rough weather week have been excellent and in this week to come we are sure the sightings will be great!

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Free Movie Pass!

Free ‘Oceans’ Movie pass with every Midweek Adult Whale Watch direct booking by calling us on 02 4984 9000.

Whale Watching departs daily at 10:30am and 2:00pm (3 hours)

Nelson Bay Cinema
Cinema Mall, Stockton Street, NELSON BAY
Starting: Thursday 28th July end Wed 3rd August
Times: 11:45am, 3:15pm and 6:45pm (102 mins)

See you on the water!

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