Whales lure Gold Coast visi­tors

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

WHALES are mak­ing a splash for Gold Coast tourism.

With record num­bers of the mas­sive marine mam­mals now mak­ing the an­nual mi­gra­tion, hu­mans are mak­ing their own pil­grim­age to wit­ness them.

Sea World Whale Watch gen­eral man­ager David Robert­son said pas­sen­ger num­bers on their tour ves­sel were up con­sid­er­ably on last year.

“We’ve had a fair bit of bad weather this win­ter with some pretty mis­er­able days or grey skies which aren’t great for whale watch­ing, but our num- bers have been great,” he said. And they’ve been re­warded with some stun­ning shows with more than 100 whales al­ready spot­ted by pas­sen­gers in the first two months of the sea­son, which runs un­til Oc­to­ber.

An es­ti­mated 20,000 whales will make the mi­gra­tion from the freez­ing Antarc­tic wa­ters to the tran­quil tem­per­a­tures of North Queens­land this win­ter.

Hunted al­most to ex­tinc­tion dur­ing the 1950s and ’ 60s, hump­back num­bers have in­creased about 10 per cent a year for the past decade, though they are still short of the pre- hunt­ing pop­u­la­tion.

Spec­ta­tors were yesterday treated to some spec­tac­u­lar breaches from a large adult about 5km off the coast of Surfers Par­adise.

Whales might breach as a show of strength, to at­tract po­ten­tial mates, or sim­ply to show off.

What inspired this par­tic­u­lar whale is any­one’s guess.

“You never can tell un­less you could get in­side their head,” Mr Robert­son said.

Pic­ture: SEA WORLD WHALE WATCH

STUN­NING SIGHT: A whale puts on a show off the Gold Coast.

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