Whales head north to the Whitsundays

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Chris Hon­nery and Inge Hansen

IT WAS a whale of a year for the Whitsundays in 2016 when it came to the ocean’s gen­tle giants pay­ing a visit.

In Au­gust, the re­gion was treated to a visit from Chalkie, the same white whale be­lieved to be the calf that was named in the Whitsundays four years ago.

And it seemed the whales weren’t shy ei­ther.

In July, a young hump­back whale popped up next to some jet skiers for a selfie.

And with a record num­ber of hump­backs ex­pected this win­ter, one can only won­der what the whales will bring and when in 2017.

The an­nual mi­gra­tion north has of­fi­cially be­gun for the giants of the ocean, with a mother and her year­ling lead­ing the way off the Gold Coast this week.

The two cu­ri­ous hump­backs were spot­ted right along­side a tour boat, breach­ing the wa­ter sev­eral times, much to the de­light of many on­look­ers.

Sea World Whale Watch­ers gen­eral man­ager David Robert­son said the pair ar­rived “right on time”.

“This is gen­er­ally when we start to see them pass off­shore,” he said.

“This year we’re ex­pect­ing far more than last year, with 27,000 pre­dicted. The num­bers seem to in­crease by 10% each year.”

Mr Robert­son said the in­creas­ing num­bers would pro­vide whale watch­ers with more op­por­tu­ni­ties to catch a glimpse of the huge ma­rine crea­tures.

But the one whale on every­one’s watch­list – Mi­ga­loo – is not ex­pected to reach Queens­land waters un­til July.

“(Mi­ga­loo) passed through around July last year and we’re ex­pect­ing him to come through at the same time again this year,” Mr Robert­son said.

POSE: Whit­sun­day Jet­ski tour guest Travis Poland got a selfie with a hump­back whale in the Whitsundays last year.

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