Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Travelog: Gold Coast - Whale watching.

To mark my 700th post, this cannot get any better.

I have always wanted to go whale watching. Ever since my uni days in Sydney, I have always wanted to witness the magnificent migration of the whales. The best laid plans often go awry, so I didn't get to see any of that while I was in Sydney.

J knew about my whale watching craze, since I am STILL going on and on about how we should go to Alaska one day (before we get old of course, since I doubt we can stand the bitter bone-piercing cold when we are 60) to look at glaciers, whales and Northern Lights.

It would be fantastic to go to Alaska and experience this. It's up there on my "Things to do before I die" list.

We definitely have to go there before we get all old and uncool to ride this next to glaciers. Plus, we have to get there before all these melt thanks to global warming.

The irony of riding a gas-powered vehicle around to see melting ice caps, only to contribute to its destruction by going round and round in vehicles that emit greenhouse gases.


Anyhoo I went whale watching with J!!!!

Again, his family knew the company well so they gave us a huge discount (we paid only $30 per pax). We took Elle, J's littlest sister, with us. Great day, bright morning and the flat sea. No crashing waves or crazy winds. How perfect was that for our whale watching treat?

We boarded the boat at Marina Mirage at about 9am, and left the Southport Spit towards the great ocean beyond.

The smell of the sea and gasoline was such a treat for me. I miss yachting so much. Sigh....

Check out the sandbars.

-- Took this photo when I was on the ferris wheel at Sea World.

"Oh my god that's a whale!!!"

-- I think that's a fin.

The stampede that ensued was downright scary. Fellow whale-watchers rushed to the bow to catch the whales in action. Lots of photos being taken. I think the group of whale watchers probably took hundred of shots of just that tiny fin out of water.

"There she blows!"

The whale was blowing and you can see the column of mist, even from a distance.

I don't know about you, but I was very excited to see a whale do its thing. Splashing and swimming...

"I think it's waving at me..."

There's more than 1 whale in the pod. See the light colored ones beneath the water? That's a whale.

"Is it coming over? GOOD LORD THERE'S ONE NEXT TO THE BOAT!!!"

"HI FISHY!!! Are you waving at me?? I LOVE YOU!!!"

The whales are extremely friendly, curious and playful creatures. They came close to the boat to check out the ruckus, peering their big eyes at us.

We saw the whales breaching and slapping the water, showing off for a good hour and more.

Then I think Mummy Whale, aka Queen of the Pod, gave the orders to continue the migration and stop fooling around with lowly human beings.

It was swimming away!!!!

And we never saw them again.

[Well, we did spot them after they swam a good distance away from the boat.]

You could almost hear a collective sigh when the whales submerged and swam away from their friendly human voyeurs. We almost couldn't believe they would go, after all that breaching and playing. It felt like they were trained to perform and they would never leave.

Whale watching = Highly recommended!

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