It is the lovely season of winter in Australia and with that comes big cloudy skies, cold dark nights, the beautiful flowering wattles and………the whales.
Every year, thousands of these gentle and beautiful creatures migrate along the coastline following their unseen oceananic highway from the frigid Antarctic waters to the warm tropical waters of Queensland and the Coral Sea. This annual migration run begins around the end of May and continues until November with the peak of the season being around July.
On this migratory journey, you will see Humpbacks and Southern Right Whales however Blue Whales, Minke and Orcas have also been spotted. It is expected around 25,000 whales will be passing our coastline this year alone.
There is a great website called ‘wild about whales’ which is produced by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. Download the free app at www.wildaboutwhales.com.au for the latest sightings and the best vantage points in which to view these majestic creatures from. Once downloaded, you can even record your own whale sightings as I very luckily got to do after spotting a Humpback while at Cowrie Hole.
On a perfect winters day that was as sunny and warm as a promise I spotted my ‘first whale of the season’. This was such an incredible experience. Under a big cloudy sky and in the company of four pelicans and an elderly rock fisherman, a massive humpback breached.
The whale leapt its massive bulk out of the water and rolled air-borne before crashing back into the ocean. I could never describe how truly breathtaking this was and how honored I was to have stood there watching this most beautiful act of nature. The whale breached several times displaying his aerial grace. No doubt he reveled in the pristine waters of our coast and just perhaps, he heard our whoops of joy at seeing him. After he moved on, his massive body breaking the ocean surface every so often and his spout visible as a sea fountain, I was saddened to think that an incredible mammal of such size and beauty could be felled by the cruelty of a tiny barbed harpoon!
And after this calm, came the storm. A howling tempestuous beast which battered our coastline for almost 48 hours bringing with it unrelenting 80 kilometer an hour winds, driving rain, king tides and huge waves of around 8 meters plus.
Once the powerful east coast low moved on and the rain and winds subsided, the surf conditions came in to full. This all made for one hell of big swell and in these wild conditions of restless massive waves and the noise of them like a violent explosion, the surfers came…..
As I stood on the rock ledge watching the surfers this little fish, tossed up and out by a huge wave, landed right at my feet. He looked a little stunned and somewhat unsure of his predicament so after checking each other out I flipped him back into the bubbling surf hoping he made a safe get away…….and I’m pretty sure he did.
Watching these brave souls battle the waves I thought that perhaps fear must stagnate life and adventure for some. No doubt there will always be the regret of lost opportunities, and this would be especially true when we do not try for something we truly want. I could not help but wonder if that must surely be far worse – not having tried at all than fail at what you have the courage to attempt especially when you seek it with all of your heart. I guess you will learn a lot about yourself when you stretch yourself in the direction of great boldness or ……..you are going to die trying.
Sometimes, you just have to tackle life head on. Attack it with all you have and when a big hulking wall comes up in front of you kick it hard and kick it in. Never give up! As soon as you give up, that is the moment the tide will be turning and guaranteed, it will be turning for the better…..xx
The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever
…….Jacques Yves Cousteau