Whales in Fun­nel Bay

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

A HUMP­BACK whale and her calf were spot­ted by Ocean Raft­ing pas­sen­gers head­ing out to Hill In­let and Hook Is­land on Sun­day.

Ocean Raft­ing boat skip­per Tris­tan Gross­man said they saw the mother hump­back whale teach­ing her calf how to breach in Fun­nel Bay.

“We have been see­ing whales on a daily ba­sis cruis­ing through the wa­ter and oc­ca­sion­ally breach­ing play­fully with each other,” he said.

“This year has def­i­nitely been pro­duc­ing some re­ally high num­bers of whales since the mi­gra­tion sea­son started in June which is great for tourists and lo­cals.”

He said some of the best sight­ings had oc­curred while cruis­ing through the Whit­sun­day pas­sage and on the out­side of Hook Is­land.

“For many of our pas­sen­gers this is the first time they have ever seen hump- back whales in their nat­u­ral habi­tat and I had some pas­sen­gers say they could hear them singing to each other while snorkelling,” he said.

Whales visit the Whit­sun­days ev­ery year on their an­nual mi­gra­tion from Antarc­tica dur­ing the win­ter months.

Legally, ves­sels must stay at least 100 me­tres from whales in the marine park and 300 me­tres in the Whit­sun­day Whale Pro­tec­tion Area.

It is also a re­quire­ment to stay at least 300 me­tres away from a whale calf through­out the marine park.

The Great Bar­rier Reef Marine Park Au­thor­ity (GRMPA) en­cour­ages marine park users to re­port whale sight­ings by email­ing eye­on­thereef@gbrmpa.gov.au or call­ing 4750 0788. Sick, in­jured, stranded or dead whales can be re­ported to the Marine Strand­ing Hot­line on 1300 AN­I­MAL (1300 264 625).

WHALE SPOT­TING: Whales were seen right off Port of Air­lie on the week­end with a mother and her young calf de­light­ing on­look­ers as they breached close to shore.

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