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Setting off in Sydney
Setting off in Sydney
Whale watching

Sydney whale watching

Thursday, July 8, 2004
Sorrel spends a morning on one of the most spectacular harbours in the world with a hump-back whale.

From early June to early August, Sydneysiders anticipate the arrival of whales. There are plenty of great vantage points around the foreshore, but to get a little closer to the magnificent creatures, Bass & Flinders takes excursions to watch humpbacks, Southern Right and minke whales on their migration journey.

Richard Ford, owner of Bass & Flinders, works very closely with National Parks. He believes that once people have seen whales close-up, they will want to protect them. Around 1000 of the massive creatures pass along Australia's east coast each year. Photographs enable experts to determine return visitors.

The 34-metre air-conditioned catamaran offers comfortable and stable viewing on three-hour cruises. There is plenty of deck space. It is recommended you dress warmly and eat lightly before departing. Underwater hydrophones allow you to listen to whale songs. Ample deck space gives 360° visibility and full commentary from experienced crew points out things of interest as you go towards the Heads. There is a snack bar and hot drinks to enjoy as you go one-and-a-half hours or three kilometres out into the ocean.

Some whale-watching terms: Blow — two-to-three metre cloud of vapour escaping the blowhole as the whale exhales. Breach — the whale's 40 tonne body leaps from the water. Tail slap — a forceful slap of the tail in a horizontal movement. Pec slap — whale lies on its side and slaps its 4.6 metre pectorals against the water surface. Fluke-up dive — the large tail lifts as it dives.

Boats are permitted to go 100 metres from the whales, but if the engine is off and the whales approach the boat, that is an added bonus. They are sometimes just as curious as those watching them.

You may well see dolphins, seals, sharks and many seabirds as well.


The waters around Sydney


Bass & Flinders whale watching cruises run from Circular Quay and Sans Souci. They cost $65 per person and if no whales are spotted, you are offered a return tour. They run from early June to early August, every day except Tuesday.
Please note prices are valid at time of filming.

More information

Bass & Flinders Cruises
Ph: (02) 9583 1199
Fax: (02) 9529 5092

Qantas: 13 13 13

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