The 2010 Hervey Bay whale watch season has almost come to end and the old empty feeling is already setting in. The season is only short, mid July until end of November but it is full on and sooooo eventful. I work in the office and only get to see the whales if I can jump onboard on my day off so I rely on all the stories from passengers and crew to get me through the day. I also use the radio and tune in to the fleet and listen to their chatter. when you can here the squeals and sighs of the passengers in the background you know they are having a great day on the water - I almost feel I am there with them watching these amazing mammals that come to rest and play in Hervey Bay on the southern migration.
It has been an interesting season with an interesting mix of international travelers. Two years ago it was predominately British families who had taken advantage of the strength of the English pound to visit Australia and made the trip to Hervey Bay to see the whales and visit World Heritage Fraser Island. This year the French came marching through early in the season with the Danes and Germans arriving later in October.
Overall most operators said their passenger numbers were slightly down this season due to a lot of factors including the fact that the wind was slightly up more often than it was down this season. Nature is wonderful - it is very unpredictable and we struggle to keep up with it even when the weather man tries extremely hard to keep us informed and predict what the weather will be like. These predictions kept a large number of intrastate, particularly Brisbane people from venturing the three hours north to take a look at what the whales do when they spent a week or two in the bay.
Whale watching in Hervey Bay is unique for that very reason. The whales that come into the bay stay from one or two days to two or three weeks. Hervey Bay's patron whale, Nala spent about 4 weeks in the bay this season with her new calf, whose name escapes me at the moment - a beautiful sounding Aboriginal name meaning precious. All Nala's other offspring have been named after characters from the Lion King. Check out Wally and Trish Franklins website www.oceania.org - they are sure to have a picture of her.
Well till next whale season - I can't wait.