Whale watching: First humpback spotted

Lady Musgrave tour set sights on first humpback for the session

First humpback whale
Crew on board the Reef Empress spotted a humpack whale (not pictured) off the coast of the Bundaberg Region on 23 May, signalling an early start to the whale migration.

The Bundaberg Region is about to have a whale of a time with the first humpback whale spotted off the coast.

Lady Musgrave Experience owner Brett Lakey said the crew from Reef Empress was on its way to Lady Musgrave on Thursday morning when something caught their eyes.

On closer inspection they realised it was the first humpback of the season and with excitement informed Brett.

“Charge your cameras,” Brett said.

“(I’m) excited to say, our first sightings at Lady Musgrave this morning.

“We will see them now until early October and have whale-watching tours running from 22 June.”

More whale sightings

The first pod of humpback whales were spotted a week ago off the coast of northern New South Wales.

Enjoying a pre-season cruise, tour operators Out of the Blue Adventures were cruising from Ballina to Cape Byron when they spotted the breaching whales.

Owner Dean Suchs said three juvenile humpbacks were spotted, making an early start to the whale watching season.

Each year, the pristine waters off Bundaberg come alive with the majestic southern humpback whales from July to November.

Whales are very active creatures, which regularly perform a variety of behaviours like pectoral slapping, tail flapping and breaching.

Humpback sightings off the coast of the Bundaberg Region have grown in popularity during the last decade.

Last year whales were even spotted a number of time off the shores of the Bundaberg Region.

One of the best ways to get up close and personal would be from a boat such as the Reef Empress.

Reef Empress whale watching
Experience whale watching on the Reef Empress from Lady Musgrave Experience. Photo: Lady Musgrave Experience

Welcome to Whale celebration

Brett said there would be a “Welcome Whales to Bundaberg” cruise along with an Indigenous Welcome to Country event at the Bundaberg Port Marina on 16 June and the community was invited.

Official whale-watching tours would start the following weekend, 22 June.

Anyone wanting to attend the welcome whales event can phone Lady Musgrave Experience on 4151 5225 or go to the website.

Earlier this month Lady Musgrave Experience expanded its fleet and launched three barbecue boats for families to use on the Burnett River.

Whale facts

According to Tourism and Events Queensland here are some fun facts about the humpback whales that pass the Bundaberg Region:

  • Growing to up to 16 metres in length and weighing up to 40 tonne, a single whale can be equivalent to eleven elephants or 600 people.
  • Whales can live to at least 48 years, but it is likely to be higher and probably closer to 100 years!
  • Whale songs are only sung by the males and can last from a few moments to an hour and travel for hundreds of kilometres. These sounds of around 170 decibels!
  • A whales cruising speed when leisurely moving is 3.5 knots to 5 knots but when chased they can reach speeds of 9 or 10 knots.
  • Their annual migration from Antarctica to Queensland covers 10,000kms (5000km each way) between May to November.

Barbecue boats join Lady Musgrave Experience fleet