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Whale Watching

Our guide on how to beat seasickness

By | Blog, Whale Watching

Our guide on how to beat seasickness

Whale watching

The chance of getting seasick may be holding you back from booking a whale watching tour, but fear not! We have created this guide on how to prevent seasickness on your whale watching cruise.

Why do we get seasick?

Seasickness or motion sickness occurs when the brain is confused by conflicting sensory information. Your brain receives signals from motion-sensing parts of your body: your eyes, inner ears, muscles and joints. When your brain is confused, this is when seasickness begins.

An example of this when on a boat:

 

  • Your eyes see waves moving
  • Your inner ears sense movement 
  • Your muscles and joints sense that your body is sitting still.
  • Your brain feels a disconnect among these messages.

Symptoms of seasickness

Now you know how seasickness occurs, but how do you know when it is about to happen?

Symptoms of seasickness include:

 

  • Dizziness
  • Cold sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Lack of concentration
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Pale skin
  • Rapid breathing

 

Once you feel the onset symptoms, it is time to act. Your first thought may be to run to the bathroom and wait it out in privacy. In reality, this will make things go from bad to worse. Read on for more tried and tested ways to reduce the risk of seasickness on your cruise.

Reducing the risk

Here are a few tips that can help you reduce the chance of seasickness, which aren’t trapping yourself in a small and stuffy space.

When you begin to feel a little queasy:

– When in motion, look towards the horizon or land rather than the inside of the cabin.

  • Stay on the lower decks where the boat’s centre of gravity is most stable. The higher you go, the more you will rock with the vessel.
  • Some people find that closing their eyes is the best way to eliminate sensory confusion.
  • Step out and take a breath of fresh ocean air.  Our vessels have plenty of open deck space, making it for a comfortable ride.

The back and bow of our vessel, Spirit of Migaloo II, offer great space for fresh air.

Preventing seasickness

There are preventative measures that can be taken that reduce your chances of getting seasick.

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. Our preferred product is Travacalm H.O. which comes in a chewable pill form. This product is sold onboard, but we suggest buying your own before your tour as they should be taken an hour before departure for best effect.

Natural remedies in the form of ginger candies or smelling peppermint are also said to alleviate symptoms of seasickness.

Ginger is known for its anti-nausea properties. Ginger comes in many forms, such as ginger tea, candy and raw, which all help combat the symptoms of seasickness. If you aren’t a fan of the taste of ginger, you can pick it up in capsule form from pharmacies and supermarkets.

 

Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you need further help or advice on how to prevent seasickness.

Candied ginger and raw ginger are known for their anti-nausea properties. (Image courtesy Alamy Stock Photos)

Now you know how to combat seasickness once and for all, don your sea legs and get ready for a whale of a time on the Humpback Highway.

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Why do some people find whale songs to be relaxing?

By | Blog, Whale Watching

Why do some people find whale songs to be relaxing?

Whale Watching

The 2004 film Finding Nemo tells us how to ‘speak’ whale, but do we know much about why whale songs are so unique? Humpback whales are known for their beautiful ‘whale song’, consisting of long sound patterns that travel long distances across the ocean.
Many people praise whale songs for being relaxing and calming during stressful moments.

Read along as we dive deep into the mystery of the whale song, and discover why it is so relaxing.

Why do whales sing?

Sound travels almost five times faster in water than it does through air, making it an excellent tool for long-distance communication. Humpback whales are known for their ‘song’ that floats through the ocean.  But did you know that their song is an essential part of whales lives? Humpback whales use various clicks, whistles and pulsed calls, all of which are used for different purposes. Every humpback pod has their own unique dialect; This helps differentiate whales in their pod from strangers.

 

Whale clicks are believed to be for navigation and identifying physical surroundings in a behaviour known as ‘echolocation’.The whale’s click will bounce off objects which return an echo that gives information on the object’s distance and size.

Whistles and pulsed calls are used for long-distance communication between whales. Reasons for this include:

 

 

  • Males informing other males or females that they are in the area.
  • Warning other whales of predators such as orca or sharks.
  • Coordinating pod hunts
  • For fun!

Mother and calf swimming close together.

How do humpback whales sing?

Unlike humans, who talk and sing using vocal cords in their throat, humpback whales have more complex vocal structures that form on special sacs that line their throat. To ‘sing’, whales move air between the sacs and lungs, allowing them to sing without losing any air.

Each whale population has their own song. Over time parts of the song change, creating a completely different tune; Changing pitch, melody or entire melodies.  If different pods of whales are in earshot of each other, they can trade phrases to add to their songs.

Why do some people find whale songs to be relaxing?

There have been claims that whale music soothes crying babies, calms women during childbirth and can help people drift to sleep. Ian Samuels, director of a lifestyle CD company, suggests that people listening to whale music find their breathing subconsciously slows to match the whale notes.

Samuels says: ‘The whale’s moan is long, slow, contains a range of pitches, and is repeated in patterns. These characteristics make it perfect for relaxation. And people associate it with the tranquillity of the ocean.’

Next time you find yourself struggling to fall asleep, skip counting sheep and instead put on calming whale song music.

Excited passengers delighted by a ‘spyhopping’ whale.

Do only male whales sing?

Both female and male humpbacks can sing, but only male whales produce loud and long melodies, suggesting they use it to attract females.  All of the males in a local group sing the song in roughly the same way.

Females have been known to sing to their calves, but only at a whisper-like volume to not draw attention from other whales. They don’t take part in the famous ‘whale song’ style of singing.

How can humans hear whales sing?

Did you know that you can listen to humpback whale songs live without getting wet? Sea World Cruises use an underwater microphone called a hydrophone. Just like your average microphone that collects sound in the air, a hydrophone detects sound signals when submerged in water. 

Whale Watching Cruises with Sea World Cruises have hydrophones they use during whale watching tours, which are broadcast over a loudspeaker for guests to experience the spectacular whale vocals.

Want to hear the whale song for yourself? Jump aboard our Whale Watching Cruise, the number one whale watching experience on the Gold Coast, Australia.

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Who is Migaloo the white whale, and where can I find him?

By | Blog, Whale Watching

Who is Migaloo the white whale, and where can I find him?

Whale watching

Australia biggest (literally, he’s over 25 tonnes!) celebrity, Migaloo, is a white whale that has everyone saying, “have you seen Migaloo yet?”. The superstar humpback is adored all over the world as one of the only living albino whales. He is part of the Eastern Australian whale migration that sees over 35,000 humpbacks make their way to the warm breeding grounds of Northern Queensland.

When was Migaloo first spotted?

Migaloo was first spotted off of Cape Byron in 1991by a group of volunteers conducting a whale count. Since his first sighting, he has been reported to have been seen over 50 times.

How old is Migaloo?

When Migaloo was first spotted, they estimated his age to be roughly three years old. In 2019 he celebrated his 30th birthday. Humpback whales can live up to 50 years old, so there is still plenty of time for our favourite white whale. However, scientists have noticed that Migaloo was swimming further away from the coastline over the last few years. They believe this could be due to his maturity or survival from other whales or predators.

How did Migaloo get his name?

Once Migaloo was discovered, Australia was eager to name him. It was decided that the elders of the Indigenous community would have the honour of naming him. They chose the name Migaloo which translates to ‘white fella’.

Is Migaloo protected?

Migaloo is protected under Queensland and Commonwealth Government legislation, which states that no vessel can get within 500 metres of him. These laws are necessary to prevent excited whale watchers from getting too close and harming Migaloo. An example of this was in 2003 when a boat got too close and scarred his back.

Are there any other white whales in the world?

Migaloo, as rare as he is, isn’t the only white whale in Australia. He is one of the unique handfuls of white whales in the world. His special counterparts are named Willow, Bahloo and Migaloo Jr; a calf spotted in 2011 with a normally pigmented mother. The calves father is unknown, but some speculate he could quite possibly be Migaloo’s offspring. They haven’t been able to test this theory just yet due to the lack of DNA from Migaloo Jr.

Where can I see Migaloo?

There currently haven’t been any confirmed sightings of Migaloo in 2021. In early April, there were reports of a white whale seen off of the Victorian coast. Following Migaloos previous migration patterns, it is doubtful that this was indeed Migaloo.  In 2020, the humpback was seen at Port Macquarie towards the latter end of June. There is a good chance he may follow similar times as last year.


We are eager to find him during this year’s 2021 whale watching season. Keep an eye out on our Instagram page for Migaloo updates, or follow the #migaloowatch hashtag.

Will you be lucky enough to see the wonderful white whale, Migaloo, this 2021 whale watching season? Book your ticket now to witness the worlds greatest migration.


Don’t forget to share your photos and tag @seaworldcruises or #seaworldcruises.

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Responsible whale watching: What does it mean?

By | Blog, Whale Watching

Responsible whale watching: What does it mean?

Whale Watching

Sea World Cruises are proud to be certified in responsible whale watching with an Advanced ECO Certification. As a leader in ecotourism, we have a high standard in our operations and a duty of care to animals and the environment. This is important to conserve the natural beauty of the Gold Coast bay and keep its wild inhabitants safe for future generations.

Who is Ecotourism Australia?

Formed in 1991, Ecotourism Australia aims to promote environmentally sustainable and culturally responsible tourism. They define their definition of ecotourism as:

“Ecotourism is ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing natural areas that foster environmental and cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation.”

Its focus is on conserving the local environment and historical heritage while supporting the culture and encouraging people to look after the natural resources that attract them to the region.

What is Ecotourism?

Ecotourism aims to preserve the integrity of the destination. Its focus is on conserving the local environment and historical heritage while supporting the culture and encouraging people to look after the natural resources that attract them to the region. Sea World Cruises holds an Advanced ECO Certification, meaning Ecotourism Australia has independently assessed us as one of the nation’s leading and most innovative ecotourism operators.

What makes our whale watching sustainable?

Sea World Cruises adhere to best practices for whale and dolphin watching. This includes guidelines, ethics, and ideas that ensure services provided are conducted in a manner that:

– Minimises negative impacts on marine life, including whales, dolphins, and the environment.
– Results in high levels of customer satisfaction.
– Positively benefits local communities and the environment.
– Educates and inspires the public and the wider tourism industry.

Our skippers are trained in precautionary boat handling to reduce disturbance on wildlife to an absolute minimum. We offer educational commentary to inspire our guests to coexist with marine life authentically and respectfully.  

Sustainability and pollution

Did you know humpback whales and all other marine life are affected by underwater noise pollution? We have designed all of our whale watching vessels to operate with smaller, quieter engines that reduce acoustic pollution and produce fewer carbon emissions.  They are also equipped with mini-keels to prevent harm to marine wildlife and habitats from propellers. A pump-out facility has been installed at our terminal to discharge wastewater onshore, not at sea. We employ a Garbage Management System, minimising single-use plastics and recycling and composting of waste.

Cultural heritage

We acknowledge and pay respect to the Yugambeh people, the traditional owners of the land and sea on which we operate. We conduct cultural heritage training with our staff and include cultural heritage as part of our whale watching cruises, including commentary using traditional names of animals and locations. We are an equal opportunity employer and a member of the QTIC Indigenous Champions Network, an initiative to ensure indigenous people are active participants and valued members of our business and the broader tourism industry.

Whale knowledge

Our crew are experts on humpback whales, going through intensive learning to understand whale behaviour. Reading and predicting behaviour is an important skill when it comes to whale interactions. This is important when interacting with whales. It helps the crew determine which individuals would like to be approached and like us to stay away. Most whales are curious to humans; however, some would instead prefer to be kept at a distance. Our skippers abide by maritime law in keeping the minimum distance between the whale and the vessel.

Griffith University partnership

Sea World Cruises have a close partnership with Griffith Centre for Coastal Management to further our understanding of whales and their role in marine ecosystems. With multiple whale watching tours each day, Sea World Cruises offers opportunities to gather essential data on migrating whales. Recent projects include fluke identification catalogues, long-term monitoring of Humpback whales in South East Queensland and studying newborn calves in the Gold Coast.

Cruise amongst the whales with the Gold Coast’s most advanced and eco-friendly cruise company this 2021 whale watching season.

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Makes a splash with Gold Coast Holiday Dollars

By | Blog, Sightseeing & Dining, Whale Watching

Make a Splash with Gold Coast Holiday Dollars

Sightseeing & Dining, Whale Watching

If you’re reading this, there is a good chance you are one of the lucky winners of the highly anticipated Gold Coast Holiday Dollars. Congratulations! Here are five unique and exciting ways to use your $100 voucher. Will you explore stunning waterways while feasting on the finest regional flavours? Or perhaps it’s time to encounter gentle giants of the deep on an unforgettable whale watching experience? With so many exciting ways to set sail the hardest part will be knowing which to choose.  

Whale Watching Cruise

Are you looking for something unique and exciting to spend with your Gold Coast Holiday Dollars? Join the marine experts for a Whale Watching Cruise that you’ll never forget. Setting sail from the pristine waters of the Gold Coast Broadwater, step on board Australia’s newest and most advanced whale watching vessel and head to the humpback highway. See mother whales tenderly care for calves. Feel dwarfed by the size of gentle giants as they curiously approach the boat or launch themselves out of the water. Keep your camera at the ready because whales aren’t the only stars of the show, our cruises routinely encounter charismatic dolphins, enormous sea turtles and resident and migratory seabirds.

Wake Up with the Whales Cruise

For a whale experience like no other, secure a ticket to our Wake Up with the Whales Cruise. Starting from 6:00 AM, cosy up with a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea (or juice for the kids) and satisfy your tastebuds with your choice of mouth-watering bacon, egg and cheese roll or flavoursome halloumi, mushroom and spinach burger. Within 20 minutes of departure, you’ll be helping the crew spot whales against the unique backdrop of the sun rising over the horizon. Witness these gentle giants up close as they showcase their size, behaviours and execute flawless acrobatic skills. After saying a regretful goodbye to the whales, we return to the terminal at 8:30 AM for you to begin your day.

Captain’s Lounge Whale Watching Experience

Want to make the most of your Gold Coast Holiday Dollars? Take your wildlife encounter to the next level and upgrade to the exclusive Captain’s Lounge Whale Watching Experience. Take an exclusive grandstand position in the heart of the vessel command centre with one-on-one time with the Captain and luxuries found nowhere else on board. Indulge in a private, spacious area with priority boarding and a personal host while savouring an individual grazing box and unlimited non-alcoholic beverages.

Sightseeing Lunch Cruise

Soak up the Queensland sunshine and spend your Gold Coast Holiday Dollars aboard our relaxing Sightseeing Lunch Cruise. Departing from a convenient location in the heart of Surfers Paradise, embark on a relaxing 2-hour river cruise on the sparkling Gold Coast waterways. Indulge in a delicious tropical buffet lunch, including fresh king prawns, maple glazed ham off the bone, succulent roast chicken and more. Views from the open-air sun deck will showcase some of the Gold Coast’s most famous sites including homes of the rich and famous and iconic landmarks.

Sightseeing Dinner Cruise

Whether celebrating a special event or getting friends or family together for a night out, our Sightseeing Dinner Cruise is perfect for every occasion. Set sail through the Gold Coast waterways for a delightful 2 hour 30-minute dinner cruise. Enjoy the region’s best produce, including fresh king prawns, rosemary crusted lamb, twice-cooked roast potatoes, grilled calamari, New Zealand mussels, gourmet salads and delectable desserts. Try some locally produced wines or boutique beers from the fully licensed bar, or treat yourself to one of many tasty cocktails. Be entertained and tap your toes to live music. Wander upstairs to the spacious upstairs deck, boasting 360-degree views of the sparkling Surfers Paradise skyline.

Don’t miss your chance to book!

You’ve got until 21 July 2021 to book your experience, and until 17 September 2021 to travel.

You will have received an SMS and an email containing your voucher (don’t forget to check your junk mail folder if you don’t see it). You will need this number to make your booking. All booking can be made online. Feel free to reach out to our friendly reservations team on +61 (07) 5539 9299 for assistance.
 
BOOK WITH HOLIDAY DOLLARS

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5 animals to see on your Gold Coast whale watching cruise (that aren’t humpbacks!)

By | Blog, Whale Watching

5 animals to see on your Gold Coast whale watching cruise (that aren't humpbacks!)

Wildlife

There is no experience more incredible on the Gold Coast than whale-watching. But did you know that you will see more than just humpbacks on your whale-watching tour? The Gold Coast bay is home to a range of wildlife, from dolphins to whale sharks; what will you see?

Dolphins

Dolphins are one of the most beloved marine mammals on the planet. From their curious personality to incredible porpoising behavior (jumping in and out of the water), everyone gets excited when a pod of dolphins visits a whale watching tour. Dolphins are one of the most intelligent animals on Earth and are compared to being as bright as chimps and gorillas. They are swift predators hunting small fish, squid, and other small sea creatures. 

There are 38 oceanic species of dolphin, and there are three different dolphin species that frequent the Gold Coast waterways.

1. Common Dolphin

Common dolphins are found in large pods and are very family orientated. They have a sleek build with distinctive hourglass coloring with a yellow patch extending from their eye to their dorsal fin. Common dolphins rest in groups in shallow waters, keeping one eye open to look out for lurking predators. During the day, they are a very acrobatic dolphin species, and you will often see them leaping, head lunging, tail slapping, and approaching vessels to bow ride in the wake.

Australian common dolphin.

2. Australian humpback dolphins

Classified as a vulnerable species, it’s something special to spot an Australian humpback dolphin on your whale-watching trip. This species of dolphin travels in small pods of up to five individuals. Unlike other humpback dolphins, the Australian species doesn’t have a distinct hump but can be distinguished by their thick and curved back. They have a long beak that protrudes out of the water. They are a shy species of dolphins and would rather keep to themselves than interact with humans. They do, however, enjoy playing with other sea life such as jellyfish, seaweed, and shells.

3. Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin

Frequent visitors in the Gold Coast bay and the city’s canal system, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins are the most commonly seen dolphins on the Gold Coast. This species of dolphin is distinguishable by its dark grey back and pale belly, and chunky appearance. Bottlenose dolphins are very family orientated and live in pods of 10-15 individuals. They are a close-knit group, raising young calves, hunting, and playing together.

Indo-pacific bottlenose dolphin.

Minke Whales

Mike whales are often spotted early in the whale season in May through to early July. The smallest and most abundant of baleen whales, they are a rare sight to see on your whale-watching tour. Noticeable by their small size and unique coloring, they are a shy species and not as inclined to humans as their humpback cousins. Minke whales are believed to follow similar migration patterns as humpback whales; however, scientists are still unsure where they go once they leave Queensland waters. 

Minke whales are the most widely hunted whales in the ocean and continue to be the target of commercial whaling. Here in Australia, minke whales can swim safely in protected waters.

Whale Shark

The rarest marine creature you will see on your whale watching tour is the whale shark. The largest fish on Earth at an average length of 10 metres, witnessing this gentle giant must be seen to be believed. They are brownish blue in colour and covered in white spots. Their mouths can stretch open to 4 metres wide. Whale sharks are slow swimmers travelling up to 3mph.

Whale sharks are an endangered species, with only 10% reaching adult maturity. They are protected in Australian waters, encouraging safe breeding.

Minke whales are the most widely hunted whales in the ocean and continue to be the target of commercial whaling. Here in Australia, minke whales can swim safely in protected waters.

Whale Shark courtesy Getty Images.

Now that you have the knowledge of what to look for on your next whale-watching tour, secure your 2021 season seats today.

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When do the whales come back to the Gold Coast?

By | Blog, Whale Watching

When do the whales come back to the Gold Coast?

Whales

The question we get asked the most during the whale off-season is, “when are the whales coming back to the Gold Coast?“. We have been counting down since the end of last season for their return, and it’s still a little while yet. Our gentle giants make their way back to the bay in late May and return back to Antarctica in early November. With population numbers increasing every year, the humpback highway is a hub of activity during these times. 

The humpback whale migration is one of the longest journeys of any animal on the planet. From Antarctica’s cold waters, the whales embark on a 5000km return journey to north Queensland. They pass through the Gold Coast and slow down to rest in the protected waters close to the coastline. It is here that they put on a magnificent display of breaching, tail slaps, and peduncle throws.

When is the best time to see them on the Gold Coast?

The Gold Coast whale watching season begins in late May ending in early November. You can experience some of the best whale actions in the world during this time. As whales are wild animals, it can be hard to predict what behavior you’ll come across, but that is the exciting part of whale watching. If you’re eager to find cute baby humpbacks, they are seen in the bay from late July.

Where are humpback whales coming from?

Although they spend a fair amount of their life in Australia, humpbacks are residents of Antarctica. It’s in these polar waters that they feast on an abundance of krill to fatten themselves up for their journey to the warm northern breeding grounds.

Why don’t they breed in Antarctica?

Whales have a thick layer of fat called ‘blubber’, which keeps them warm and protected in the cold Antarctic waters. They develop this blubber by gorge feeding krill during the summer. However, as the season ends, the water temperature begins to drop, and it is time for the whales to migrate north. They must move to warmer waters as newborn calves are born without any fat stores, meaning if they were born in Antarctica, they’d quickly turn into a whale-popsicle. Calves are born in the tropical waters of north Queensland, where they feed on their mother’s nutrient-rich milk, which is bright pink with a yogurt-like texture. On their return journey home, the baby whales will have enough fat stores to survive.

A new born calf swimming with their mother.

What do they eat on their migration?

Antarctica is a humpback’s only feeding ground, so they will fast for their entire 5000km migration. They eat enough krill and plankton before they depart to sustain themselves during their journey, consuming up to 4-tonnes of food a day. You can often determine their direction of travel by the whale’s size; northern travellers are quite fat and large, whereas returning whales show more skin and bone.

Who will I see?

Humpback whales arrive at different times depending on their age. Immature adults, who are much smaller and often seen travelling together in pods, and the previous season’s mothers and calves are the first to head north. Pregnant females and mature males stay back in Antarctica longer to fatten themselves up as much as possible. They do this because females must have enough fat to sustain both herself and her calf, whilst males want to be as big as possible to impress their prospective mate.

Excited passengers being ‘mugged’ by a humpback whale

We feel the anticipation building with reports of early sightings off the coast and can hardly wait until late May to officially begin our whale watching season. Be part of the whale’s incredible journey and book your seat now.

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Why do humpback whales migrate north?

By | Blog, Whale Watching

Why do humpback whales migrate north?

Whale Watching

Between May to November, the Gold Coast coastline comes alive with humpback whales and their mesmerizing displays. Their acrobatic feats and entertaining behavior keep keen-eyed whale watchers coming back year after year. But why do the humpbacks themselves return at the same time every year? The answer is that the Gold Coast is a stop on their annual migration from Antarctica to Far North Queensland.

The Great Migration

What is migration?

Migration is the seasonal movement of animals from one region to another. It is found in all groups from the animal kingdom, from birds to butterflies. Some of the most common reasons are food supplies, breeding, and climate. 

Humpback whales begin their annual 10,000km round trip in Antarctica’s cold waters and migrate to Far North Queensland’s warmer climates. During the summer, humpbacks spend their time in the polar region gorge feeding krill to fatten themselves up for their long voyage. From here, they head towards their tropical breeding grounds to mate and give birth.

Northern Migration

May-August

The first humpbacks to begin their journey are pods of immature adults and last season’s mothers and calves. Pregnant females and mature adult males stay a little longer in Antarctica to have more time to gorge, feeding to fatten themselves up for their journey. As they fast until they return to the feeding grounds, future mothers require as many fat stores as possible to feed both themselves and their calf, whilst males bulk up to be the biggest and strongest to impress potential mates.

The northern migration is all about females: Pregnant females heading to tropical waters to give birth and ready to mate with males, who spend their days chasing after potential mates. Females will be pursued in extravagant displays of aggression by a ‘competition pod’. Competition pods are groups of male whales of up to 20 individuals who are trying to impress the chosen female. The competitions can be violent, with males shoving, lunging, peduncle slapping, and even biting at another to assert their dominance until one outlasts the others

Male’s in a ‘heat run’, a pod of whales chasing a female. They are more passive and last longer than competition pods.

Southern Migration

August-November

Things are calmer on the way south as the humpback population begins to relax. Instead of females, food is the greatest motivation to return to Antarctica. Male humpback’s desire for mating has subsided, and females are now either pregnant or have given birth.

The journey south showcases different behavior than the fast-paced, hormone-driven chase north. As they are not chasing or chased, humpback whales ease and become more curious and playful. They often swim close to boats, bringing themselves eye to eye with lucky whale-watchers as they pop their heads out of the water to say hello. You will also see an abundance of mothers and calves. Mum teaches bubs to breach and is a charming and amusing spectacle as they clumsily try to launch out of the water.

Late October to early November sees the last of the humpbacks as they bid farewell to the Australian coastline on their voyage home.

Calves are distinguished by their small size and pale grey colouring.

When does whale watching begin on the Gold Coast?

Humpback whales often trickle in early before the official whale season begins; however, going off yearly migration patterns, most of the population passes through at the end of May through to early November. During this period, Sea World Cruises offers daily whale-watching cruises departing three times a day from the Sea World Cruises Main Beach Terminal. With over 35,000 humpback whales migrating annually, we offer a 100% whale sighting guarantee.

Don’t miss out on seeing these magnificent creatures for yourself.

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The story behind an Australia’s Top 10 viral video

By | Blog, Whale Watching

The story behind Australia’s top 10 viral video

Whale Watching

The incredible moment was awarded a place in the official Tourism Australia Instagram page’s top 10 performing posts of 2020.

In 2020, we witnessed some of the best whale displays in Australia, including a once in a lifetime breach that took the internet by storm. The video of a whale breaching metres from delighted passengers went viral across social media and news outlets. The incredible moment was awarded a place in the official Tourism Australia Instagram page’s top 10 performing posts of 2020. If you are yet to see it, check out the epic moment for yourself here. The breathtaking breach proves yet again that the Gold Coast and Sea World Cruises is the best whale watching in Australia.

Humpback Whales are one of Australia’s most curious, cheeky, and playful mammals. During their annual migration, they travel over 10,000 kilometres from the cold oceans of Antarctica to breed in warm Queensland waters. They love to show off and surprise eager whale watchers along the way. They’re known for tail slaps, head lunges, and the spectacular breach; an incredible display of their strength as they throw their 25-tonne body into the air.

The story behind the surprise capture

Even the best whale watchers can’t always accurately predict when and where a whale will breach. Humpbacks love to dive in down one side of the boat and leap from the opposite. Their unpredictability makes this video even more impressive. A perfect case of ‘right place, right time’.

After departing Main Beach, the crew of Spirit of Migaloo II spotted the featured whale splashing in the horizon. Once located, the humpback enjoyed playing hide and seek with the passengers. Popping up to say hello to the crowds and taking a few exhales,  it showed off its tail fluke before diving deep into the ocean. Everyone waited eagerly for its return. Humpbacks typically spend between 4-15 minutes underwater before they return to the surface. As the minutes ticked by, the chances of seeing it again dwindled. Our skipper and crew were beginning to call it quits, all agreeing that it had headed under for a longer dive (which can be over 45 minutes long). As passengers began to settle in for their cruise home, our whale did what they do best; a stunning breach metres from the boat, drenching delighted guests at the bow. The passenger behind the video was located on top of the boat, the perfect viewing point for a truly once in a lifetime experience.

How can I get a piece of the action?

If like many, this video is making you eager to capture your own whale moment, you have a few more months to wait! Believe us, we’re counting down the days too! Our Gold Coast Whale Watching season begins at the end of May when the humpbacks begin to pass through to the breeding grounds in Northern Queensland. We can’t wait for you to join us for a VIP whale watching experience.

We love seeing videos and images of special captures, don’t forget to tag us @seaworldcruises on Instagram.

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Getting the perfect shot: Four tips to improve your whale photography

By | Blog, Whale Watching

Getting the perfect shot: Four tips to improve your whale photography

Whale Watching

Everybody wants to capture that ‘wow’ factor whale photo; the beautiful tail fluke, the perfect breach…only to end up with a blurry and grainy mess that only if you squint hard enough, you can see a whale. Here are four tips to up your whale watching photography game and bring humpback envy to all of your friends.

1. Patience

Whale watching is all about patience, and to capture the ultimate breach, it requires even more. Whales are wild creatures who swim by their own rules, making it hard to locate where they will appear. This elusive behaviour can be frustrating when you are pursuing the perfect shot. Firstly, find your ideal spot, preferably with the sun behind you. Secondly, listen to your captain. Your captain is knowledgeable in whale activity and will be your eyes and ears on your trip. Pay attention to what they have to say about whale behaviour as this will help you know what to expect and where to look.

2. Know your whales

Different species of whale have different types of behaviour, and to get those ‘wow’ photographs, it is important to learn what each behaviour means. If you are eager for a breach, keep an eye out for a fluke up dive. Humpbacks dive deep into the ocean to gain enough power to launch out of the water. On average a humpback whale will spend 7 minutes underwater, so keep an eye on your watch while you get your camera ready.

Heat pods, when a female is being chased by multiple males, are notorious for sudden changes in direction. As tempting as it is to keep moving back and forth from one side of the boat to the other, staying in the same spot may be a smarter strategy for spotting and photographing whales. Much like picking a checkout line in a supermarket, swapping at the last minute rarely works out for anyone.

3. Camera settings

Have you ever tried taking a photograph of a fast moving object only to get a grainy blur? It is important to adjust your digital or DSLR camera settings correctly to capture fast whale action. To do this, put your camera on shutter priority mode and adjust your camera’s shutter speed to at least 1/1000. 

If you don’t own a digital camera, you can also take amazing photographs using your iPhone. The iPhone has a ‘burst feature mode’ which takes photos of action as it happens by holding down the shutter button and releasing it when you’re done.

iPhone’s also offer ‘live mode’ which takes a photo and a video simultaneously. When live mode is turned on, it records a video for a few seconds before and after you take a photo. This feature is a life saver when you just missed out on a spectacular breach, as your phone will have automatically recorded the moments before. From here you can scroll through the video and select the photos you want or save it as a video. 

Note: Burst mode will not work when live mode is on.

4. Zoom

To zoom or not to zoom, that is the question. Depending on what type of zoom you have, you can more often than not be better off by ignoring zoom. There are two types of zoom functions: optical and digital. Optical zoom uses the physical lens of a camera to magnify an image without losing quality. This ensures crisp photo quality compared to that of the digital zoom seen on mobile phones. Digital zoom magnifies using the sensor and loses image quality the more you zoom.

If you don’t have optical zoom, wait to take photographs when the boat is stopped or close to the whales. By doing this, it preserves the image quality and can prevent image grain if you choose to crop it.

Most importantly, remember to have fun in your pursuit of the perfect photograph. It can sometimes be discouraging, but with practice, patience and following the tips above, you are on your way to becoming a pro whale photographer on your next Sea World Whale Watching Cruise.

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