Now while you won’t see Melville’s legendary Moby Dick, you may see Nala, Roxanne, Cupid, Caesar, Merlin, Phantom, Venus and Raoul, just a few of the humpbacks that call in for a spell on their way to and from the deep cold waters of Antarctica. And then there’s Migaloo, the White Whale, who has already been spotted off Fraser Island in June.
Humpback whales are naturally curious about objects in their environment and many are easily identifiable as individuals because of the markings on their fins and bodies. And this is where photographers can play a huge part. According to the Oceania Institute, humpback whales often show their tails before diving under the water and each has markings that make it unique. By taking photographs researchers can monitor the movements of individuals. More than 1000 whales have been identified this way.
The lifecycle of the southern humpback whale brings them into the Fraser Coast, which has helped the region become Australia’s top whale watching destination. Each May humpbacks leave the rich feeding grounds of Antarctica and make the annual 6000 kilometre journey to the breeding grounds in the warm waters of the Whitsundays, north of Fraser Island. Some of the females will give birth, while the others will mate.
After spending a short period of time in the Whitsunday area, the whales start the long journey south, many of them coming into Platypus Bay for as long as five days, some staying for only a day. It is believed that the shallow calm waters provide shelter giving the whales the opportunity to socialise and to give the new-born calves a chance to grow stronger before they continue south.
A huge tip when photographing whales is to use a polariser filter. It reduces the reflections from the water on their bodies and the surrounding ocean.
Each year Bluedog Photography runs photography tours to Fraser Island and as another approaches we are excited about going back and capturing the humpbacks.
During this tour Peter Meyer, resident photographer, Danielle Lancaster and Cathy Finch will show some of their favourite places on the island for photography. The tour has been especially designed so you don’t have to drive or own a 4WD – all vehicles will be supplied with many added inclusions including your transfers to the island, accommodation at the acclaimed eco resort, Kingfisher Bay Resort, and of course the whale watching tour!
Kingfisher Bay Resort is the gateway to the World Heritage wilderness of Fraser Island. This Australian icon is famous for its ancient rainforests, spectacular fresh-water lakes, remarkable wildlife and famous 75-Mile Beach with streams spilling into the ocean, mighty sand blows, coloured sand and even a shipwreck.
Limited numbers ensure you gain a personal yet rewarding experience on one of our favourite places on Earth! Places are limited to two 4WD vehicles only with our own drivers. Participants will get the chance to join both drivers. As with all the Bluedog tours: this is a photography tour designed for photographers by photographers! And with the first tour for 2010 all booked out another tour date has been announced for October - there are still 3 places left!