We recently decided to go with Gold Coast Whale Watching Adventures operating out of Mariner Cove Marina at Main Beach. They operate morning and afternoon half day tours on a purpose built Catamaran with five viewing platforms allowing good observation for passengers and supply morning or afternoon tea during the tours.
Once out into the open ocean the first whale sighting was of two animals who teased us by “logging,” that is, effectively sleeping below the surface and unlikely to surface for some time. What followed over the rest of our time on the ocean was one sighting after another. Our resident expert gave comprehensive explanations of the various behaviours exhibited by the whales using the often self explanatory terms used to describe these actions, such as the following:
Peck Slap: raising one or both pectoral fins above the water and slapping the water surface.
Chin Slap: similar to the Peck but raising the head clear of the water.
Tail Slap: as above, but raising the tail clear of the water and slapping the surface, often on multiple occasions.
Breaching: the most spectacular and well known behaviour, the whale launches all or most of its body from the water before crashing back to the surface.
Peduncle Throw: my personal favourite, the whale pivots on its head and swings its tail and Peduncle (the rear part of its torso) clear of the water before forcefully slamming the surface of the water.
The commentary on the whales’ behaviours and other facts about whale migration were comprehensive and extremely interesting. After a couple of hours of hectic whale watching our vessel headed back to the Marina with some very satisfied clients on board. The cruise was operated in a highly professional manner but with an emphasis on enjoying the spectacle of the whale migration and, most importantly, operated in an ethical manner, approaching and observing the whales from a safe distance, only getting close when the whales chose to.
Whale season runs until the end of October. Visit the website for more information.