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Whale Watching

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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A whale watcher’s dream: Record numbers of whales expected in 2020

By | Blog, Whale Watching

A whale watcher’s dream: Record numbers of whales expected in 2020

Whale Watching

It is undeniable – 2020 has been quite the year of absurdity, confusion and chaos. We can, however, look forward with great anticipation to the annual migration of humpback whales passing through our local waters. With the world somewhat on pause, air and surface level water pollution has dropped significantly. We are now expecting the humpback whale population to be around 40,000 this year. This is where scientists estimate the population was prior to World War II. In the 1960s there were only about 150 whales left, so we are very privileged to have this group in 2020.

In the midst of social distancing, working remotely and studying online, a chance to be out in the fresh air and sunshine is well deserved. This year, whales were spotted in Port Macquarie heading north as early as April. Now, the Humpback Highway is experiencing rush hour, and the Gold Coast Bay is every humpback’s favourite pitstop. The main migration usually starts in June. These whales are heading north to the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef for mating and calving, and continue to pass by the Gold Coast in July and August.

 

After a brief pause, we are then treated to the same whales returning south – but this time, with their little calves! The young ones will be eager to show off their newly learned skills while they try to keep up with their mums. The whales will continue their journey south for a couple of months, all the way to the deep Southern Ocean and back to their feeding grounds in Antarctic waters. Here they will feed on a rich supply of Antarctic krill – the preference of East Australian humpback whales. The southern migration through Gold Coast waters lasts from September until November. This migration pattern to the north and then to the south is a constant in the whales’ lives. Many whales do this big swim every single year.

 

This year we are expecting even larger numbers of whales than recorded last year. We are very lucky to have one of the strongest recovering populations of whales off our coasts. Whaling was once common in Australia, but was thankfully banned in 1963. Another factor assisting in this recovery is that the entire coastline of Australia is designated as a whale sanctuary. Much of the Southern Ocean is also considered a sanctuary, and therefore hunting is not permitted. It is the combination of these protective measures that has allowed our whale populations to flourish.

 

If you (like most of us) have been cooped up at home for the past few months, why not hop aboard one of our state-of-the-art vessels and observe some humpback whales on their migration journeys. 2020 has been a strange year for many, but a day on the beautiful waters of the Gold Coast is enough to redeem any bizarreness.

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

By | Blog, 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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Sightseeing

Seven seasickness remedies that work and two that are myths

By | Blog, 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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