Whale Watching in Sydney

Our last day in Australia had come around so quickly, as we sat on Bondi Beach watching the sunrise for the last time we spontaneously decided we wanted to go whale watching. It’s something I have never done and having heard there were plenty of whales around at this time it seem like a great time to go.

We headed down to the Circular Quay for 9.45 am to see what tours were on offer that morning. All we found that morning was two huts and only one offering a 10 am cruise. The lady was extremely friendly and helpful so we decided to head round to the wharf where that boat was moored up. With most people having made a booking we had to wait until most people had arrived and boarded for them to check numbers. However we and the few others without bookings got on just fine. We paid on board (the same price as the pre-booked customers) and got ourselves settled on the deck at the back.

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Heading out of the harbour we were presented with the beautiful views of the city, Harbour Bridge and opera house. However much the same as on the Manly ferry we had done two days ago I wasn’t as blown away as some people were. We headed out of the harbour and out to the coast lined with steep cliffs and the skyline just visible in the distance. Soon we were out in the spot they had spotted whales over the last few days. The windy conditions along with the white waves which were being created all over the surface, didn’t make it easy to spot the whales to begin with. Then suddenly there were shouts and screams as someone spotted our first whale of the day. They then opened up the front deck, so we made our way down there although to begin with it was far to packed to get a decent spot for photographing the action. The captain did a great job of talking us through all their moves little and big. He also worked out we were tracking a mother and yearling – a baby from last year. They were travelling slow and this was because they didn’t need to make it all the way north. With no need for either of them to mate they were just making the journey to warmer waters to survive.

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We learnt that when they kicked their tale up it meant they were going down quite deep and they would be down for 7 – 10 minutes (on average). One of these times I took the opportunity to pop to the bathroom, only to have to queue for forever. In which time the whales surfaced again this time giving a real display for us of a DOUBLE BREACH a very rare move. Typically being in the queue for the bathroom I didn’t have my camera on me, but luckily I still got to see the action. I ran back to my boyfriend to ask him if he captured the action on my camera, only for him to tell me he missed it all! But he didn’t and you can see the images he captured below! I abandoned queuing for the toilet and was just grateful to have seen the action myself. They didn’t double breach again but they did pop up a few more times before going deep down again. After that the action was all tail flicking and they slowly started to move away from the boat. Still I never imagined I would be privileged enough to see a double breach.

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The whole trip was brilliant in my eyes. We had luckily wrapped up in a ton of clothes as the wind chill was so cold and despite the boat being extremely rocky and rough neither of us were travel sick, however a lot of people were! It seemed to take no time at all to find the whales and despite the first few times of surfacing and not really doing anything. The double breach and tail flips certainly made up for any disappointment I had initially. We had a full three hours on the boat, tracking the whales until the last possible minute before having to head back inland.

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The boat was large with two decks and two inside seating areas spread over two levels. When we first spotted the whales it was hard to find a space to squeeze in to take photos but as time went by people gave up and we managed to get a great space for all the action.

We paid $88 each for a three hour whale watching trip with Sydney Adventure Cruises and were thoroughly pleased with our experience. Humpback whale watching season along the east coast looks like this: North migration happens between April and mid-August and then south migration happens between mid-August and December. There are of course plenty of other whales present along the coast, however these do not migrate so it’s hard to track their whereabouts.

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