Humpbacks and Highrises – a busy few weeks in the whale world

A lot has happened in the world of whales in the last few weeks, leaving Olaf from Humpbacks and High-Rises with lots to talk about but not enough time!

We recently caught up with him to discuss what he and the team of volunteers have been up to recently.

Let's take it back to Migaloo.. The big white whale and iconic whale ambassador that passed the Gold Coast on the 11th of July 2017.

MIGALOO!! This is one whale I can definitively say I've seen this whale before. It was a perfect day starting with a breaching whale. Then after about an hour I could overhear the crew "Migaloo" "Main Beach" and once it was confirmed we left the energetic breaching whale for something very rare, the white whale #migaloo #whitewhale #whalewatching #humpbackwhale #pedunclethrow #whale #goldcoastadventures #humpbackwhale #humpback #oceangiant #southstraddie #goldcoast #goldcoastgallery #visitgoldcoast #visitsurfersparadise #megapteranovaeangliae #thisisqueensland #australia #australiagram #ig_australia #igersgoldcoast #canonaustralia #keepstillphotography #damnrightmyphoto @destinationgoldcoast @goldcoastadventures @queensland

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Migaloo was first spotted close to shore around 9am off Main Beach. This area is also a suspected resting hot spot for both Humpback Whale mothers and calves. Over the course of the morning, he speedily cruised northwards, past South Stradbroke, and then North Stradbroke, leaving the Gold Coast bay on his journey north to join the other whales in the warm tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef. There has not been any more news of Migaloo since his appearance almost a month ago, but hopefully we get to see him again on his journey south.

Olaf has also bought up the recent deaths of multiple calves, and the beach nourishment project which is currently moving substantial amounts of sand back onto our famous beaches. He said “The ongoing dredging along the Gold Coast shore is widely visible but mostly it is widely hearable for whales and dolphins. We have raised concerns about the impact that this operation has on whales wanting to rest close to shore."

#beachnourishment .... #palmie #ripperofaday

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"There have been a number of newborn calves, found deceased on the 14th and 15th July. One calf was stranded on North Stradbroke Island and died, another one was found dead 4km off the seaway and a third one was killed in a shark net at Broadbeach.  These all were sad news but also underlining the importance of learning more about whales to better protect them.” - Olaf

A baby Humpback Whale found dead, washed up on Miami Beach in July 2017. Source: Gold Coast Bulletin

Over the past few weeks, volunteers on board Whales in Paradise have been treated to some magic conditions. They surveyed a total of 16 whales over a 2 week period. We had a mother and calf playing with about 15 common dolphins on the 13th July, and a couple of single whales migrating north.

A whale comes in for a closer look on one of our tours at Whales in Paradise

Over 4 trips out with Whales in Paradise, dolphins were sighted, indicating that there are now more pods in the bay compared to July.

On the 17th July  a pod of three whales showed off with over 25 pectoral slaps.

I spy with my little eye, a whale spy hops right next to the boat, leaving customers in awe of it's size and beauty.

Most importantly, the first whale suspected to be going south was seen on the 17th July. A few more have followed, which have been sighted over the past few days. This would be almost two weeks early for the turn of the migration season. 

Between the 25th July and 5th August 2017, 13 pods were surveyed, accounting for 25 whales. Four calves were seen (27th July, 2nd August, 3rd August, 4th August) with one mother/calf pair moving south. Four out of the thirteen surveyed pods during this period were migrating south, proving that the change of migration has begun.

Unfortunately, jet skies were reported within 100m or less to whales on a number of occasions. Olaf stated “mothers and calves need to spend extended amount of time on the surface to ensure the survival of the calf. Any disturbance to this resting could be life threatening at a later stage “.

So, as you have read, a lot has been happening over the past weeks in the whale world. Keep yourself updated with more whale news over on Humpbacks and Highrises facebook page. And of course, we will be bringing you more whale news in the near future!

Hope you have a whaley good day! 

To book your tour, click here. Or call us on (+61) 07 5538 2111.