A whale of a time!

"And we hope you have a whale of a time!" Our commentator, Mel, shrugged and grinned as she said the corny line. But that's what we were here for. More than zipping up beautiful Sydney Harbour in a fast catamaran on a stupendous Sydney winter day. More than getting a little sun and fresh air. More than catching up with some friends and colleagues. 

This was serious stuff. We were off to catch whales. Well, not actually 'catch' them of course, you understand. With cameras poised, we were dedicated to catching them blowing or breaching or tail slapping - whatever they felt like doing. And we knew we'd see some, too. Firstly June is a great time to catch the annual northern migration of humpbacks as they pass the harbour heads and northern or southern beaches. And then we had it in writing from Captain Cook Cruises, themselves, that if we didn't see a whale on this afternoon's cruise, then we would get another chance to do so. Free! 

 

WATCH THIS VIDEO:

 

 

The 2014 Whale Watching season commenced this year on May 17th and continues until November 16 - because of course, all the whales that go north for their breeding time in warmer waters, will return again later in the year, heading south.

Any excuse to be on the water in the harbour is a good one, and we all relaxed as we cruised past the Sydney Opera House, chunky little Fort Denison, the bays of Sydney Harbour and out through the heads to the open waters.

As we reached this point, the mood onboard changed. Everyone began to scan the waters in earnest and Mel gave us the drill for how we should respond when (not if!) we spotted a whale. "Think of yourself on the face of a clock," she advised. "Straight ahead is 12 o'clock. Back of the boat is 6 o'clock and so on." Aye, aye!

 

 

Soon there was a cry of 'one o'clock' and everyone jammed forward to try to spot the whale's 'footprint', a sort of oily patch in the sea marking where it may have just popped up through the surface of the water and plopped down again.

The majority of whale species seen along the New South Wales coastline are Humpback and Southern Right Whales, with the occasional sighting of Killer and Minke whales, we were told. Some may be youngsters on their first big getaway; other might have done this journey dozens of times. Most whales are found within two kilometres of the shore, so we felt fairly confident of sightings. Soon a spray of water told us we had just seen our first whale 'blowing'. 

Captain Cook's Cruises' fleet of comfortable fully equipped ocean-catamarans feature two passenger decks, with spectacular open-air viewing and an all-weather lounge for the entire family. What's more with a 99 percent success record for locating whales and a highly skilled and knowledgeable team, passengers are assured of an unforgettable experience.

 

And yes, we saw them. Several whales, and here they are!

 

(all pics and video: Gordon Hammond)

From the 17 May to 16 November the Whale Watching Cruise departs every weekend from Circular Quay at 9.30am, returning at 12.30pm and at 1.30pm, returning at 4.15pm.

The cruise also departs weekdays from Circular Quay at 10am, returning at 1pm. Additional Whale Watching cruises depart weekdays during the winter and spring school holidays at 1.30pm, returning at 4.15pm.

Ticket prices are $90 for an adult, $74 for concession and $57 for a child (5-14yrs) or $239 for a family (2 adults 2 children).  Book online and save up to 25%.

Captain Cook Cruises is also offering a Taronga Zoo and Whale Watching Cruise Combo, ideal for wildlife enthusiasts and including a rocket ferry to Taronga Zoo from Circular Quay or Darling Harbour, entry into the zoo, Sky Safari cable car and the afternoon Whale Watching Cruise departing directly from the zoo wharf.

Rocket ferries to the Taronga Zoo depart Circular Quay at 9.45am and 10.30am and Darling Harbour at 9.30am and 10.15am. The Whale Watching Cruise departs from Taronga Zoo Wharf at 1.40pm and disembarks at Taronga Zoo at 4pm or Circular Quay at 4.15pm.

Ticket prices are $99 for an adult, $89 for concession, and $59 for a child (5-14yrs) or $306 for a family (2 adults 2 children).

For further information and bookings....... 

 

 

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