Blog Day 162 Saturday 16th October 2011
Humpback Whale Watching Day!
6am rolls around & after packing all of our stuff into the camper we decide to knock up some scrambled eggs to set us up for the day. This would have worked if the cookers had been any use at all. 20mins later & the pan isn't even hot meaning that our eggs are far from being done. The bus pulls up & is waiting for us, so our perfectly runny eggs meet a perfectly empty bin & we head out with a dry piece of toast instead.
So much for saying that it never rains in Australia too because as we step outside we realise that its pouring it down & by the look of the clouds they aren't going to let up anytime soon.
The marina is about 20mins away & upon arriving we discover a coffee shop, so a Latte, Hot choc & 2 muffins later we are boarding the boat. This is after our bus driver informs us that 'She WILL be late picking us up, as she is never on time' she's a grumpy old bird but quite funny with it also.
Once on the boat we meet the skipper & get told that although it is a wet cold day it does mean that the activity of the whales should be greater. The rough seas put them into a playful frenzy & without the glare of the sun they spend more time near the surface. Good for us!
We sit out on the front of the boat as it goes out towards the west side of Fraser Island, heading to a place called Platypus Bay. On the way in the distance we see a couple of dolphins playing in the surf but no whales just yet, though it doesn't take long before the skipper shouts '11 o clock baby whale & mother humpbacks'!!
We pull up less than 50 yards away from the whale and spend about 20 minutes watching the baby learn to breech. It's in a very playful mood fin slapping and tail slapping all over the place. The mother is huge however all we have seen of her is her small dorsal fin as she breaks the surface to take a breath. She does this about 5 times in the 20 minutes we are there then out of nowhere she breeches herself! Which is amazing! She looks ten times bigger as she hurls herself out of the water.
We are told that the bay is home to thousands of whales at this time of year. It's difficult to see because the sea is so choppy today but you can just about make out other huge splashes off into the distance. It doesn't take long though until some poor woman is heaving up what she had for breakfast, so anyone who was feeling just a little queasy are now felling a lot worse due to the smell! For some stupid reason we didn't take any form of sea sickness tablets this morning so it doesn't take long before Trish starts feeling bad too.
Fortunately the most amazing part of the day comes into play when a message reaches the skipper that a mother, father & baby are acting up a little further to the coastline. Once we reach them we stand up the front of the boast and watch as baby copy mummy & daddy, breaching & splashing around. These huge fantastic creatures are literally almost within touching distance. It's just incredible. At one point all three whales were swimming upside down with their tails in the air as if waving to us! We watch them for a good half hour or more before we have to start heading back to the harbour. What a fantastic experience!
So little miss grumpy is late picking us up & her morning mood has not improved so we get in & are soon back at the hostel. We decide to jump straight into camper & drive to Tin Can Bay. It's not until we are on a road that is surrounded by trees & twists & turns every which way that we discover the petrol light flashing, telling us that we are running on fumes…OH DEAR!
The next half hour is very tense indeed but we do make it to a petrol station, how we did though we have no idea. Now Tin Can bay doesn't actually have too much going for it, meaning that it is a little out of the way & a very small town. First on the list is to look for the bay where we can hand feed the wild dolphins that come in every morning around 8am. We haven't heard of anywhere else that you can do this & it only costs you $5 for a bag of food, so we figure that this will be quite an experience & shouldn't be missed.
Next on the list is to find somewhere to watch Wales vs France this evening. We pop to the country club first & all is good to be able to watch the rugby this evening that is until the lady discovers we are wearing thongs (flip-flops) & after 5pm they are not allowed. This means that unless Dan dresses up in his Tailor made shoes & suit & Trish in her Glitzy shoes & Tailor made dress we aren't going to be watching the rugby here. So a drive around & we stumble across a local pub. Trish pops in to see if they are going to be showing the rugby this evening. This proves to be an immensely huge task for the bar staff & they even call out a manager to help. As Trish is leaving a toothless gum ball eyes her up & down & say's 'well your kinda cute aint ya doll'. Enough to make her run for the car & shout 'sod the rugby let's get out of here'. Euurggh!!
We figure that if we drive to Rainbow beach which is about 30mins away maybe we can come across somewhere there. Rainbow beach is also a gateway to Fraser Island so surely there must be some kind of backpacker bar there at least. We do manage to find a pretty nice bar & settle down to watch the game. It's not long though before a power cut ensues, accompanied by one of Mother nature's most amazing storms, we have never seen or heard a thunderstorm as crazy as this. Torrential rain, strong winds, loud constant claps of thunder and fork lightning. This pretty much holds our attention for the rest of the game. It's not until we head out of the bar & it's still raining that we realise without a driver side windscreen wiper, we are going nowhere. So we pull up in a parking lot & head over to a lookout point to watch the storm continue. Lighting up the sky with forks of lightning going right across the sea line & over Fraser Island. Cheese & crisp sandwiches are on the menu tonight & we are soon tucked up in bed listening to the rumbles of the thunder in the background.