Another terrific whale season is almost complete in Hervey Bay, Australia, as Pacific Whale Foundation’s research team come to the tail end of collecting fluke identification and distribution data that will be compiled with 30 years of research in the area.
My portrait taken by Lauren Behm.
Child enjoying a day of whale watching.
Low tide at Urangon Harbour
Mother and calf being surface active.
Sub adult gets close to the boat to investigate.
Seagulls line up at Urangon Pier, Hervey Bay.
Perfect fluke taken at the end of the season.
Urangon Harbour at dusk.
Southern hemisphere humpback mothers and calves are the last to be spotted as they complete their annual southward migration to the Antarctic feeding grounds. PWF researchers are assimilating data to take back to our research headquarters on Maui, where photographs and findings will be analyzed.
I will be traveling southeast to New Zealand and explore ‘middle Earth’ before ending my journey with a 10 hour flight back to Hawaii, just in time for our whale season to unfold as the Northern hemisphere humpbacks begin to arrive from their Alaska feeding grounds.
It’s a bittersweet feeling as I look back at at the past eight weeks spent in Hervey Bay. I had the privilege to meet and encounter friendly people and interesting animals. I will miss the dozens of different species of birds, including the Rainbow Lorikeet, Butcherbird and Minah birds that rallied outside my bedroom window every morning, sometimes too early. I never did get used to driving on the ‘wrong side of the road’, but I did see kangaroos, dingos and emus.
That’s me holding a black-headed python at the Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary.
Hundreds of light-blue soldier crabs that come out at low tide to feed.
Getting up close to the largest bird in Australia at the Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary, the Emu is second largest in the world after the ostrich.
The Osprey, also known as the fish eagle or sea hawk, is a large raptor and a keen fisherman. I captured this guy that just made a successful kill, they can dive to the water’s surface from some 30 to 100 feet.
The Rainbow Lorikeet is a colorful bird native to the eastern seaboard of Australia, and all though very beautiful they are noisy and travel in loud sociable flocks.
Australia’s most symbolic animal and my favorite marsupial, the Kangaroo. This eastern grey kangaroo is found in southern and eastern Australia, with a population of several million. Here mom carries a little Joey.
Giant fruit bats live on these specific trees at the end of the esplanade and can be seen during the day before flying off by the thousands at dusk.
Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world, offering over 120kms of pristine coastline accessible only by four-wheel drive vehicles for landings.
Fraser Island is believed to have the purist breed of dingoes in Australia. This young pup was stolen off the island and later abandoned and now is cared for by the Fraser Coast Wildlife Sanctuary.
Urangan Pier at a distance at sunset taken on my way back from my last whale watch trip in Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia.
Boat Club crew left to right: Kiwi Michael, Scottie “Daimo”, Michael “who loves pink,” Stephanie, Selket, Capt. Phil and Laura.
Most of all I will miss the crew of the M.V Amaroo, whom were so welcoming and supportive throughout the season and now I happily call my friends. I look back at long hours at our ocean store, some rough days at sea, cold weather and despite the challenges, feel grateful for the opportunity I had and made possible by our supporters .
Australia reminds me of my favorite element fire; wild, vibrant, beautiful, untamed and perilous. It is full of exotic creatures, vast landscapes and lots of G’day’s. I hope to return soon to see more of this alluring country I’ve come to love.