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Why you should come whale watching with Sea World Cruises this 2020 Season

By | Whale Watching

Why you should come whale watching with Sea World Cruises this 2020 season!

Whale Watching

It’s the perfect time to explore your own backyard

With international travel off the cards – now is the perfect time for a stay-cation and explore your very own backyard! You’d be surprised to know how many locals have NOT been whale watching on the Gold Coast before. My response is quite simple, WHY NOT?! Now is the time to come out and experience one of life’s most incredible feats, the Humpback whales annual migration that sees them travel an astonishing 10’000km round trip. 

Lower numbers on boats means more room to move about the vessel

In response to COVID we had reduced our capacity on our vessels to ensure that our customers and staff can practise social distancing. With fewer people on the boats, there is plenty of room to move freely around the boats and everyone has a railside position when we get out to the whales. Make the most of reduced capacity, but don’t leave it too late to book as seats are filling up fast especially over the school holidays and weekends!

Bumper season with over 30,000 humpback whales expected to pass our coastline

This year, scientists have estimated over 30’000 Humpback whales will pass us here on the Gold Coast – that’s over 200 whales a day passing our coast! Humpback whales are known for their playful behaviour and most days we see them show many acrobatic displays including breaching, tail slapping and pec slapping amongst many other surface behaviours. Some days we are even lucky enough to get ‘mugged’! This happens when whales become interested in the boat and will spend time rolling around the edge of the boat, checking us all out, leaving us to wonder – who’s watching who?! 

Calves are starting to make an appearance

From the cold Antarctic waters, Humpback whales make their way up the east coast of Australia to the warm, safe waters of the Great Barrier Reef to mate and give birth. However in recent years, scientific studies on board our boats have recorded calves only days old, meaning they were born further south of the Great Barrier Reef, including right here off the Gold Coast! We start to see the appearance of calves from July, and already we have seen a handful on our tours this 2020 season. The calves will be here until the end of the season as they make their way south down to Antarctica to feed over the summer. 

At birth, calves are a little uncoordinated and rely on their mothers to lift them out of the water to take a breath of air. They are around 4m in length and are a light grey colour. At birth they also have a folded dorsal fin which will generally straighten out over the following days/weeks. Seeing a newborn calf is super special and very very cute! After a few weeks, calves start to gain more muscle and strength, and are keen to copy mum’s every move.. Including pec slapping, tail slapping and even baby BREACHING! It’s honestly the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!

We guarantee you’ll have a whale of a time!

Whale sightings are guaranteed here at Sea World Cruises. That means that if we fail to find whales out there for you, you get to come back for free. Our crew are incredibly good at finding whales, and are all incredibly knowledgeable about Humpback whales. Our commentary is not only insightful but funny! From start to finish our skippers and crew will be sure to make your trip an unforgettable experience. 

We look forward to welcoming you aboard Sea World Cruises this 2020 whale watching season!

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Seven seasickness remedies that work and two that are myths

By | Whale Watching

Seven seasickness remedies that work and two that are myths...

Whale Watching

Sightseeing

If the thought of getting seasick is holding you back from booking a whale watching tour with us, fear not! Most of us have experienced seasickness at some point in our lives and we know how unpleasant it can be. Fortunately, it doesn’t mean you can’t still have an incredible day out on the ocean with the humpbacks with a little help and know-how. 

Seasickness is a form of motion sickness and is the body’s reaction of the inner ear balance system to the unfamiliar rocking motion of the vessel. When you are on a boat, you see walls and furniture and your brain instinctively knows from experience that they are supposed to be still. However because they are actually moving with the vessel and sea, the inner ear is placed under stress and that’s when nausea sets in. 

We spoke to a few of our skippers and crew to see what they had to say about avoiding seasickness. With hundreds of sea hours logged and years of experience under their belts, these salty sea dogs know a thing or two. They’ve put together this handy list of seven remedies that work and two to avoid.

Seasickness remedies that work

1. Avoid alcohol and stay hydrated

One easy way to reduce seasickness is to avoid alcohol before and during your tour. Alcohol affects the inner-ear mechanism that senses motion, so when you’re out on the open ocean, your inner ear is highly stimulated. If you’re trying to avoid getting seasick, stay away from alcohol altogether and keep yourself hydrated with a glass of water instead

2. Avoid greasy or acidic foods

Avoid heavy, greasy, and acidic foods in the hours before you travel. These types of foods – such as coffee, orange juice/grapefruit juice, bacon, sausage, pancakes – are slow to digest, and in the case of coffee, can speed up dehydration. Better choices include bread, cereals, grains, milk, water, apple juice, apples, or bananas. Do not skip eating but do not overeat.

3. Ginger

For centuries ginger has been known for its anti-nausea properties. Whether it’s in a ginger tea, a packet of crystalised ginger, or raw for that matter, ginger has been proven to reduce the effects of seasickness and even prevent it altogether. If the taste of ginger doesn’t appeal, you can buy ginger capsules at your local pharmacy.

4. It’s all about where you sit

Find a seat low to the water near the vessel’s centre of gravity. Try and get a seat on the lower deck as the higher up you go, the more you’re going to rock about. Make sure to also face the same way the boat is going as facing the wrong way can affect your vestibules in your inner ear. You want your eyes to relay the same movement cues as the direction of the boat. 

5. Inhale that fresh ocean air

If you can get some fresh air, that’s great. Try and get as much fresh air throughout the tour as you can. We are lucky enough that all of our vessels have plenty of open decks, so while you’re out there make sure to keep your eyes on the horizon. If you’re lucky enough, you might even spot the first whale of the tour! 

6. Keep it cool

You may feel the urge to rug up like you’re going to Antarctica while getting ready to go whale watching, but be careful not to overheat while out on the boat as it may bring on effects of seasickness. Wear layers of clothing so you can take a layer off if you need to. 

7. Medication

The most tried and true method of avoiding seasickness is motion sickness medication. When taken as directed this remedy is successful for the vast majority of people. If you are considering medication we recommend consulting your pharmacist first as these medications aren’t suitable for everyone. Our preferred product is Travacalm H.O. which comes in a chewable pill form. This product is sold on onboard, but we suggest buying your own before your tour as they should be taken an hour before departure for best effect. 

Whales

Seasickness myths to avoid

1. Sea bands

You may have seen people wearing them before, an elastic wristband with a plastic stud on each wrist. They’re meant to work by applying pressure on an acupressure point to each wrist. They’re safe to use and relatively cheap. However, we have tried and tested them and we’ve busted the myth. Sorry to say, but they just don’t work. More than anything they’re just a placebo effect.

2. Old wive’s tales

Several myths about curing seasickness have evolved. These include gently slapping the face of the Captain with a flounder three times, drinking a glass of iced water whilst standing on one leg and then singing Waltzing Matilda and lastly, a long-time favourite, having a wee tot of Navy Rum before bed the night before setting sail. Look in all honesty, we haven’t put these to the test, but they seem more concerned with providing entertainment for fellow passengers, rather than alleviating the person’s suffering. Stick to the above and you’ll have a great day.

So there it is ladies and gentlemen… SEVEN remedies that can prevent seasickness, and TWO that don’t. If you are concerned about the sea conditions, feel free to give our friendly reservation team a call on (07) 5539 9299. Last but not least, whatever the sea conditions are on the day, our skippers and crew are marine experts and there to help you, you are in good hands. 

Hope to see you onboard a whale watching tour with Sea World Cruises soon!

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Whale Watching with Kids: Everything you need to know

By | Whale Watching

Whale Watching with kids: Everything you need to know!

Whale Watching

Crew

School Holidays are the perfect time to get the kids out of the house and on a whale watching tour, however as a parent myself, there are always a few questions you are left wondering before you make the decision to book. So I’ve taken the opportunity to cover some of the more frequently asked questions that you need to know before you hit the open water. 

Is whale watching a suitable activity for my kids?

Yes! Whale watching is suitable for kids of all ages. Whale Watching is an incredibly exciting day out on the water, and it’s not just the whale watching but the whole experience from start to finish! 

A lot of the time, this is the first time kids have been on a boat, and that itself is such a novelty! Our skippers and crew are there to make your tour fun and memorable, and will do their best to ensure this. From helping your littlies spot their first whale, to taking turns at driving the boat! Our skippers and crew are not just professional but funny! They’ll leave you in stitches with a few cheeky jokes, but nevertheless you’re always in safe hands, with crew covering safety briefings, a life jacket demonstration and some rules to follow while out on the water with us. 

Will my kids get seasick?

Whale watching is an open water activity and is subject to the sea conditions on the day. Everyone is different and some suffer from seasickness a lot more than others. If you know your child suffers from seasickness, or motion sickness, it may be worth a trip to the pharmacist before your tour. We also sell Travacalm onboard, however they are not recommended for children under the age of 2, so please ensure you read the instructions carefully.

Tip – if you or your kids start to feel queasy, try and get them to keep their eyes on the horizon, get some fresh air, and always face in the direction the boat is going. You should also speak to a crew member as they know a thing or two about seasickness and are there to help you. 

Can I take my baby?

Yes, we are happy to have babies onboard. If sea conditions are not suitable on the day, our skipper may ask to reschedule your booking to a day that is more suitable for you and your baby, however this is relatively uncommon. You’ll also be glad to know that you can take your pram onboard, and there is a change table available at our Sea World Cruises terminal. 

Tip – Baby carriers are a great way to take your baby on a whale watching tour as it leaves your hands free to hold onto railings throughout the tour. 

What onboard activities are there for the kids?

At check in, make sure to grab a whale passport for each of your kids. The passport will keep your kids entertained on the way out to the whales and on the way home. They’ll find 8 missions inside the booklet to fill out and upon completion of 3 missions, kids can get a stamp from the captain. A great way to keep the kids entertained, plus remember their brilliant voyage onboard Sea World Cruises!

Other common questions

1. How long does the tour go for?

We all know kids get itchy feet if left for too long, so rest easy knowing our tour goes for 2hrs and 15mins. The perfect amount of time to spend with the whales, but not too long that they start swinging off the poles in boredom! After we’ve pulled away from the jetty at the start of the tour we’re only 10 minutes away from the seaway where we will head out into the open ocean and be on the lookout for the first whale of the tour. We then have just under 2 hours to spend with the whales during which time you may see whales breach, wave their pectoral fins at you, and many other types of surface behaviours that leave us all squealing in delight. Our commentary is informative and full of interesting facts about whales and other species of marine life you may encounter on the day, but it’s also fun and interactive! We’ll ask you questions, and have you shouting out and waving to the whales. It’s sure to be a whale of a time!

2. When is the best time to go?

This is probably the most common question we get, but honestly there is no ‘better time’. The whales are out there at all times of the day and it just depends on them and how active they’re feeling. Our morning cruises are very popular, however our afternoon tours are just as good, usually with fewer people, and incredible sunsets!

The season runs from late May – early November each year, allowing us to get out there with the whales for almost 6 months of the year! We start to see calves from mid-late June and we have even seen newborns here on the Gold Coast! 

3. My kids are always hungry! Do you have food and drinks onboard?

If you forget to pack snacks, do not fear! We have a cafe at the terminal where you can grab a hot toastie, a sandwich, tea, coffee and a range of snacks, which you can take onboard with you. Plus we also have an onboard kiosk where you can grab a packet of chips, choccy bar, or drink. 

4. Do you ever cancel tours?

 Yes, if it’s going to be very rough we will cancel the tour. We will try and give you as much notice as possible, however we will usually make the decision the day before around 4pm when the latest weather update comes in. If the sea conditions are border line, we may issue a rough weather speech and give a few different options that will give you the chance to make the best decision for you and your family. 

In saying all of this, most days are absolutely beautiful out on the water and we want you to have a memorable and enjoyable experience, so no need to stress. We will let you know if anything changes. 

Tip – please ensure you provide the mobile number and email address when booking incase we need to contact you!

5. What happens if we don’t see whales?

This year the season started even earlier than normal, so we are in the full swing of it now, but in the rare case that we don’t see whales on your tour, you can come out again for free to ensure that you do!

I hope that I’ve been able to answer all of your questions that may have been on your mind! If you have any other questions that are on your mind, give one of our friendly reservationists a call on 07 5539 9299 and they will be happy to help. 

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