News

Whales vie for the ideal mate

Thousands of humpback whales and their watchers are having a whale of a time on the big mammals’ annual migration north to breed before heading back to Antarctic waters for summer.
Thousands of humpback whales and their watchers are having a whale of a time on the big mammals’ annual migration north to breed before heading back to Antarctic waters for summer.

A "VIRTUAL highway" was how Yamba whale-watch cruise operator Peter Jones this week described the amount of local whale traffic.

Mr Jones, who operates Rockfish Cruises, said a predicted 14,000 whales would pass our coastline this year.

"They're increasing in great numbers," he said.

"I've just had four days of whale watching about five nautical miles out and there's whales everywhere. There's even new calves; we've seen pods of six and seven."

Mr Jones said the whales were moving quickly because the males were in a hurry to get up near Fraser Island to breed.

"The males are moving quick because they don't want to get an ugly one when they get up there," he said laughing.

"They call it a heat run; a bunch of males get together and if a female's on heat they'll sense it and they'll fight each other.

"The one who wins will mate with the female because it's the strongest.

"They'll start coming back about August and that's when they come into the bays with their baby and teach them how to breach and do all the pectoral-fin slapping - that's when it's fun out there."

Mr Jones said he was seeing a lot of "big" pregnant females up to 50-foot long.

"I've got a six-metre cat and their girth is nearly as wide as my catamaran," he said.

The number of whales, according to Mr Jones, was also on the increase.

"There's a heck of a lot more whales than there was at this time last year," he said.

"Last year, each trip we'd go out on we'd see three or four whales, but we must have seen 20 whales the other day.

"And this year they're only 400 or 500 metres off the bar, but I generally find them about five nautical miles out."

As you'd expect, Mr Jones said he never tired of seeing the whales.

"Once you see one . . . well, they're majestic, intelligent and they know what you are," he said.

"I think humans relate to whales because it's another mammal and they're just so big and graceful."

Rockfish Crusies will soon be ceasing operations but there is still time to book a trip to see the whales.

Topics:  whale migration, whale watching




Port plans for Clarence Valley brings out community anger

STORM OVER PORT: The crowd at the Iluka Community Hall meeting listens to concerns about plans for a major port development at Yamba.

Attempts to build a mega port will get anti-CSG medicine.

Grafton boy battles on after shock diagnosis

SWIFT ATTENTION: Kane McPherson and his mum Natalie and dad Rick with pop star Taylor Swift at Lady Cilento Children's Hospital.

Meeting Taylor Swift gave Kane a lift at he undergoes chemo.

Connors outstanding as Ghosts outclass Panthers at home

PIN POINT: Grafton Ghosts’ halfback Jayden Connors was accurate with the boot, hitting one 40-20 in the home side’s 40-10 victory over the Sawtell Panthers.

Grafton Ghosts' halfback on fire in 40-10 thrashing of Panthers.

Latest deals and offers

Pop icon and former Neighbours star buys into Byron

Singer Natalie Imbruglia. Supplied by Sony Music Australia.

Former actor turned pop singer joins Byron celebrity rush.

MASTERCHEF: Coast cooks to dominate finals

SO CLOSE: MasterChef's final four, from left, Matt Sinclair, Elise Franciskovic, Harry Foster and Elena Duggan. Elise’s elimination means now only the three Sunshine Coast contestants remain in the competition.

MasterChef finals will be mandatory viewing in three Coast homes

The best and worst bits of Splendour from our experts

The Amphitheatre received Flume with open arms and danced to his music on Sunday night.

The good, the bad and the plain weird

Elise's emotional exit from MasterChef quarter finals

MasterChef Australia Top 4 contestant Elise Franciskovic.

CAIRNS cook struggles after receiving letter from fiance.

Reno stars want tradies to focus a little more on one thing

The Demmrichs want Tradies to look after their most important tool

Fashionistas show off at Splendour in the Grass

Amberly Nelson, from Melbourne, posts for a photo with friends at Splendour in the Grass.

GLITTER, skin and mesh were all on show at festival this weekend.

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

Massive residential 9-storey high-rise hit by delays

An artist’s impression of the eight-storey-high apartment complex that Bernoth Holdings wants to build in South Toowoomba, next to the City Golf Club.

Developer struggles to get approved high-rise development started