Brisbane Whale Watching offers cruises onboard the luxury catamaran ‘Eye Spy’ for close up and personal encounters with the magnificent Southern Humpback Whales.
The ‘Eye Spy’ represents the ultimate in ‘whale friendly’ design and technology. Built locally by South Pacific Marine in Brisbane, she features the latest in environmentally friendly technology with low noise skewback propellers, low wash characteristic hull design and the latest MTU 2000 V16 series diesel engines. The ‘Eye Spy’ is guided directly to the whales thanks to the aerial vision from a small Cessna 172 aircraft aptly named ‘Sky Spy.’ This reduces transit time to the sighting grounds, whilst Captain Kerry provides guests with a live up to the minute whale behaviour commentary.
Captain Kerry Lopez is the only woman captain operating a whale watching venture in the South Pacific Rim. Kerry is a successful businesswoman and mother whose aim is to promote local tourism and protect the environment. After gaining her Class Four Masters Certificate and arriving in Brisbane, she worked as a skipper on the catamaran, Cat ‘o’ Nine Tails taking people to St Helena Island and then on Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef.
Brisbane’s Moreton Bay is reputedly one of the world’s best locations to observe these amazing creatures at close quarters and has the highest recorded diversity and abundance of resident and transient cetaceans in Australia.
Southern Humpback whales visit Moreton Bay Marine Park to feed, mate and play when migrating to and from their southern feeding grounds in Antarctica between June and October. Survival of the calves is a primary reason for the whales’ migration to the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, while an abundant supply of food in the form of krill is available for them in Antarctica.
The east Australian population is recovering from the large-scale, industrialised whaling activities that occurred between 1949 and 1962. In the most recent surveys data shows that the population has essentially recovered, with east Australian humpback whale populations reaching an estimated 25,000 individuals.
Migaloo, the only known white humpback whale in the world also travels via Moreton Bay.
The Marine Park is home to over a thousand species of fish, six of the world’s seven sea turtle species, eight species of dolphin and the gentle and shy dugong. It also contains a myriad of shark and ray species, thousands of mollusc species and an array of other invertebrate wildlife.
Eight species of dolphin have also been recorded in the marine park including two resident species; the bottlenose and the Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin. Throughout the year other species are also known to visit the marine park including the killer whale, southern right whale, sperm whale, melon-headed whale, minke whale, common dolphin, spinner dolphin and Risso’s dolphin.
On Wednesday 4th September it was a perfect Queensland day – glorious sunshine, a cloudless sky and a light breeze to keep the heat at bay. The bay was tranquil as the Eye Spy made its way across Moreton Bay from the Redcliffe Jetty. The vessel slowed as we approached the seaway between Moreton and Bribie Islands as Captain Kerry called out the position of a Humpback mother and calf a few metres away. The animals are never directly approached or disturbed, but will often approach the vessel themselves to ‘check it out’. Several pods of juvenile whales passed by in twos and threes and several circled the vessel, perhaps curious as to the nature of the ‘beast’!
After the pods had left the bay Kerry took the Eye Spy a short distance into the Coral Sea, which was a little more choppy, but still comfortable. As we waited a large male humpback appeared about 50 – 100 metres away. He cruised up and down for a while before he decided to put on a spectacular display. He rose from the surface and breached, hitting the water with an enormous splash and a tremendous smack on the surface that sounded like cannon fire. Bang!! The sound echoed across the nearby islands and into the bay. Magnificent! He hadn’t long departed when another large male appeared and showed off his skills as he rose, breached and dived 8 or 10 times before he tired and headed out to sea.
While there was a lull in the activity a very tasty buffet lunch was eaten and too soon afterwards it was time to head back across Moreton Bay to the Redcliffe jetty.
What an amazing experience so close to home. It was everything it promised to be and Captain Kerry was a very knowledgeable and enthusiastic promoter of and guide to the sea-life in and around Moreton Bay.
The other members of staff were equally helpful and kind, in particular, a young lady named Morgan. Thank you for the photos you took. You made the day all the more enjoyable!
Brisbane Whale Watching departs 7 Days a Week – June to November. Boarding commences from The Redcliffe Jetty at 9.00am and returns approx 2.30pm. There is a 100% guarantee that you will see the beautiful whales of Moreton Bay. The cruise includes a fresh buffet lunch with tiger prawns, cold meats and salads. There is wheelchair access and the company is Eco Accredited. A portion of every ticket price is donated to ongoing whale research. A licensed bar, snack and souvenir counter is available onboard.
Brisbane Whale Watching is Australian owned and operated.
Book Online at: https://brisbanewhalewatching.com.au/book/
Call: 07 3880 0477