Whales have a blast off fingal
WHAT began as an early glimpse into the annual journey of the humpback whales turned into a half hour spectacle for some lucky divers aboard a diving charter.
Two adolescent whales were spotted about 15 kilometres off the Fingal coast after divers aboard a boat with Tweed business Watersports Guru saw the massive mammals showed off their acrobatic skills and some massive belly flops.
Watersports Guru director Tim Adams passed the photos onto the Tweed Daily News this week because “everybody loves whales.”
“It was a major surprise for us all on the boat and I just thought it would be something everyone would like to see,” Mr Adams said.
“These may be the first whales to be spotted going by the Tweed.
“No one was expecting them to go by so early.”
From about June every year humpback whales migrate north along the east coast of Australia.
They leave their feeding grounds in Antarctica to head north to the warmer waters of the Great Barrier Reef to breed and give birth.
It is not until November before they head south again.
Southern Cross University's Whale Research Centre researched Wally Franklin said whales began to migrate early this year.
“The flow is a steady procession that runs northward through May, June and July and in late July some whales begin moving south again,” Mr Franklin said.
“All the mating actually takes place off the Queensland coast. That's where calves are conceived and usually born.
“In the most fundamental way that is their home. The motivation for going south to Antarctica is food.”
The Marine Environment Centre at Seascape Museum in Hastings Point was also surprised to see the whales off the coast so early.
Teacher Kerrie Tree even correctly predicted the appearance date of the whales off the Tweed coast more than a year in advance.
“The reason I had May 14 in my diary was because that was the date the whales came through last year and I thought if the weather was alright it would repeat itself,” Ms Tree said.
“I was down on the beach with some students when we saw them. We couldn't believe it.
“It was about two weeks earlier than they normally come.
“That may not seem like much but it's huge in terms of a species migration.”