Whale watchers celebrated the long weekend in style off Port Stephens.
While an exhumed whale generated attention off Newcastle last week, this massive female made her presence known off Port Stephens on Sunday afternoon. Imagine Cruises skipper Frank Future said the scale of the humpback had been awe-inspiring, estimating the aquatic behemoth stretched about 16 metres and weighed close to 44 tonnes. Female humpbacks can be 10per cent to 15per cent larger than males, carrying extra weight to produce hundreds of litres of milk to feed suckling calves.
There are many theories about why whales breached, suggesting this whale may have been trying to cool or clean her skin. Even using the coast for navigation may have been behind the leap, he said.
Mr Future said the spectacular breach had been a highlight in a great weekend for whale fans.
‘We had an amazing weekend of whalewatching,’’ Mr Future said. ‘‘We sighted more than a dozen whales up close.’’
The whale-watching season began officially this month, and will run until about November.
While weather had dogged the start of the whale-watching season so far, Mr Future said there was no shortage of whales visible when the sea was calm at the weekend.
‘‘There’s been plenty of whales coming through,’’ he said.