Whale Season in Paradise
It’s July on Fraser Island – whale season time. Winter sunbeams dance upon the turquoise ocean. The deep blue heart of the sky breathes expansively into the total absence of clouds. This is the season of wildflowers blooming in the coastal heathland, wallum froglets singing their music in tea-tree wetlands, black cockatoos feasting on dripping banksia nectar, snakes dreaming beneath our feet, fruitbats screeching overhead, crisp nights and warm lazy days. The first Australians called this island K’gari, which is translated into the modern vernacular as ‘paradise’. If paradise itself has seasons, as all other things seem to, including we human beings, then surely what we call winter is Fraser Island’s special season of splendour and beauty.
It’s also the inaugural playtime of the great Southern Humpback whales. There are many idyllic places along the Australian East Coast that these marvelous creatures could stop and rest on their annual migration between the tropics and the Antarctic. Of course, they’ve chosen nothing less than paradise itself, the jewel in Queensland’s sunlit crown: K’gari. For those of us blessed enough to squeeze in a holiday to Fraser Island during this time of year, we’re guaranteed to see these gentle giants of the deeps on one of their own. In the tranquillity of Platypus Bay, only a few hours from Hervey Bay, the travelling pods break up and individual whales relax and unwind. For the big bucks, it’s a time to show off; they love to involve themselves in thunderous displays of playfulness, enormous fins waving at nearby boats, titanic tails slapping the water, blowholes bellowing out five-storey jets of saltwater spray. The mothers and the calves tend to take a different approach, heading closer inshore. They are in no rush; the mothers are more than happy to indulge the curiosity of their newborn children. A curiosity which is never quite satiated until the calf, with mother in tow, chooses to swim up to your anchored vessel. Only those who have looked into the timeless gaze of a whale eye know how magical such a moment really is!
In today’s world, there are endless holiday options. We’re usually overwhelmed with choice, and many of us tend as a consequence to do the most outlandish, exotic thing we can think of. We could jetset to Marrakech or go and eat creole cuisine in New Orleans. But where can we hop aboard a luxury vessel we can skipper ourselves, with no previous experience required to do so? And when can we then sail just a few hours out of port, through World Heritage waterways passing turtles, dolphins and dugongs, and be greeted by humpback whales as we drop the pick in the unique anchorages of the world’s largest sand island? Well, the where is Fraser Island, our beautiful K’gari, Australia’s best kept secret. And the when is now: whale watching season, from July to October!
Written by: Mitchell Robson
Fraser Escape Bareboat Charters
P: (07) 4125 5773
E: [email protected]