Mother nature offers the best show in town
SIX kilometres off the coast of Kingscliff, the 44 passengers on board a 15m long catamaran suddenly gasp in unison.
A humpback whale has surfaced just 50m from the boat, launching itself in the air, executing a half twist before splashing back into the ocean.
"I thought it was going to end up on the boat," quipped one passenger.
The seeming degree of difficulty for a creature this huge to perform such an aerial manoeuvre is akin to a school bus pole vaulting, but it's performed with such a unique form of lumbersome grace.
But that would not be the most breathtaking sight we would witness on this day.
Twenty minutes later all heads turn as a 25m whale, 50m from the boat launches from the ocean once, twice, and then a third time, just 30 seconds between each manoeuvre.
"I can't get the image out of my head," says Gold Coast tourist Karen Mcinnes, speaking for all of us privileged to witness this awe-inspiring display.
On a perfect spring day, Banora Point couple Sandee and Steve Norman are transfixed.
They are almost daily visitors to Point Danger armed with binoculars, one of the most popular local whale watching locations.
They recently spotted 100 whales in one day.
"Our coast is beautiful and we're so lucky to live here and get to watch the whales go past," Sandee said.
"That's why we're on the boat today, we wanted to come closer to them.
"I've never seen them this close before. Best show in town."
The show started just after we crossed the Tweed bar on the Coolangatta Whale Watch boat.
All up we would sight in excess of 50 whales during the three-hour tour.
Pods frolicked with their tales flapping out of the water like they were waving hello, against a backdrop of a hazy Mount Warning and the Gold Coast city skyline.
"It's been one of the better years," says Zac Hunt who has run Coolangatta Whale Watch for the past six years.
Despite all the shark concerns down south, Zac hasn't sighted one all season.
That is until a 2m long hammerhead darts beside the boat.
A pod of dolphins and schools of frolicking flying fish cap off a magnificent display from Mother Nature.