July 17th 2010
Whales arrive for Magnetic season
Humpback Whales were sighted inshore at Magnetic Island earlier this week offering tourists aboard a local sailing charter the photo opportunity of a lifetime.
Skipper of Providence V, Grant Lewis reported two humpback whales coming right alongside his boat when sailing around Balding and Radical Bays at Magnetic on 14th July 2010.
Mr Lewis said “guests onboard where over the moon, they took great photos”.
May to September is the annual migration season for whales as they head north away from the colder southern oceans, for our warmer waters – to court, mate, give birth or rear their young.
More whale shots in Magnetic waters.
The humpbacks’ visit to Magnetic Island comes as a timely reminder for vessel operators to take care, watch out for whales and know the approach distances.
Sunferries’ skippers will be keeping a vigilant eye out for whales during this migration season with whale sightings often visible on the ferry trip across to Magnetic Island.
Tha annual whale migration has also, in the past been marred by private boaties and jetski riders harassing whales. (read here)
The Key points for whale-watching include:
• Keep a sharp lookout for whales and whale watchers
• Slow down or stop to see what direction the whales are travelling
• Do not approach from directly in front or behind
• Stay at least 100 metres away (jetskis 300 metres)
• If there are 3 or more boats (at 100 metres), stay 300 metres away
• If possible, stay on the landward side of the whale.
The limit for Jet Skis around whales is 300m whether or not other vessels are around.
An excellent guide to the safety regulations can be found (HERE)
Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service (QPWS) and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) do regular patrols in the Marine Park. However, as it is a vast area and there are numerous whales (perhaps 8000 through the season) along the Queensland coast during the annual migration, QPWS have asked that everyone using marine areas to play it safe and follow the guidelines. Most vessel skippers and personal watercraft users behave responsibly.
For the record, if you see someone behaving unsafely around whales, record their vessel's registration details, the time and place the behavior occurred, and pass details to QPWS. In the Townsville area, call 4722 5243.
As the whale season is a particularly wonderful time for our natural environment Magnetic Times welcomes images from readers who would like to share their better shots with a wider and appreciative audience. Please send images, preferably below 500KB in size to firstname.lastname@example.org with approximate time and location of your photo
Photos by Nerilee
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