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



Former Magpies sons return to lead into next generation

NEXT GENERATION: Lower Clarence Magpies new coaches Anthony Hickling and Dan Randall with club president Darrin Heron (centre).

Lower premiership winner Dan Randall returns to lead 2017 charge.

Commercial fishers get extension, but it makes no difference

Ballina trawler harbour.

Deadline extended for NSW fishers buying back into the industry

Sex attacker slapped with strict supervision upon release

Violent sex offender's life after jail no walk in the park

Local Partners

Christmas has arrived in Grafton

Christmas has come to Shoppingworld as Santa arrived this morning to have his photos taken with children.


Bringing their Magic Mojo to Grafton

MAGIC: Head down to Roches Family Hotel for a brilliant mix of '70s, '80s and '90s music by Magic Mojo, a Coffs Coast band using their experience to give a brilliant performance.

Powerful trio to lift the top off Roches Hotel tonight

Catch Saturday night fever at the South Club

GEEZ WIZZ: Get your dancing shoes on for the UK Bee Geez Show.

The UK Bee Geez Show delivers a realistic tribute to pop legends

Audience in for a rare treat from husband and wife duo

Husband and wife Adam Eckersley and Brooke McClymont are playing at home this weekend for an intimate gig at the Pelican Playhouse.

"We love playing these up close and personal acoustic shows”

David Attenborough on facing his mortality

Sir David Attenborough in a scene from the TV special The Death of the Oceans.

Life without Sir David Attenborough is hard to imagine

Goooodbye Hamish and Andy (from our radios)

Hamish and Andy

The pair have been on air since 2006

Saying "I do" changed Shia's outlook on marriage

Shia LaBeouf has a new outlook on marriage since he tied the knot.

Singer tunes in to first movie role

Tori Kelly voices the character Meena in the movie Sing.

Musician Tori Kelly voices Meena the teenage elephant in Sing

Cricketing greats bring Aussie mateship to commentary box

Cricket commentator Adam Gilchrist.

ADAM Gilchrist enjoys the fun of calling the Big Bash League.

The dead help solve the case

Debut novel delivers on wit, violence and shock

Chinese locked out of Australian property market

The rules are different if you're a foreigner

The buyer was from China - the trouble started right there

Morrison signs off on new affordable rental model

Australia's Treasurer Scott Morrison speaks during a press conference after a meeting of the Council of Federal Financial Relations at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.

Scott Morrison signed off on development of a new financing model

Coast high-flyer's fight back from bankruptcy, $72m debt

Scott Juniper went from millionaire developer to declaring bankruptcy in2012, now he is back on top of his game again with new developments including this one in Coolum.

'Apocalyptic lending storm' causes financial collapse.

How your home can earn you big $$$$ this Christmas

This luxury Twin Waters home rents out over Christmas for more than $6000 a week.

Home owners earning thousands renting out their homes this Christmas

2000 jobs at multi-million dollar Ipswich project

INSIDE: Artist's impressions of the interior of the new Eastern Heights aged care precinct.

Sub-contractors needed to build $15m aged care facility

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!