Tuesday, June 25, 2013

We see whales. Like seriously...

I could go on about how much fun Sydney was and what a fantastic time we all had but honestly, the highlight for us-- particularly for Sophie-- was the fact that we indeed got to see migrating whales off the coast of Nelson Bay, just north of Sydney. When I had booked the whale-watching tour, part of me was worried that we wouldn't get to see anything. This is after all out in the wide open waters and animals may not always behave as we'd like them to.

But we were lucky and the weather and ocean gods were in our favour. We had gone with Imagine Cruises which seems to have a pretty good track record of whale sightings. We traveled in a catamaran, which is a little less stable than a bigger boat I suppose, but I actually think the smaller vessel was better because it allows you to feel closer to the waters. It was a gorgeous day for a boat ride-- clear skies, brisk breeze, and gentle enough waves-- which did get quite vigorous at times-- that allowed us to go quite far our from land. The vastness of the ocean was profound-- I was in awe. Even Sophie was bowled over by the waves that surrounded us-- "It's like we're on blue jello, Mama!" was the four-year-old assessment of ocean travel in New South Wales...

About 45 minutes into the tour, we finally spotted whale spray in the distance. There were two other tour boats out at sea and by sharing sighting information, the captains could triangulate the locations of different pods of whales. It was all quite exciting with everyone standing, pointing, gesticulating, and moving to the edges of the boat to get a better look. I reckon there were at least half to a dozen whales swimming around us and we got pretty good views of them breaching the surface to breathe and even a couple instances of them doing large flips. It was AWESOME.

Whale splash!

Keen followers of the blog know that Sophie adores whales-- she loves reading about them, listening to stories about them, and knows their anatomy better than any other animal's. And I think the whale tour was the best treat we could have given her-- better than any amusement park or toy store. We were just *there*-- under clear blue sky, atop deep aqua waters, surrounded by animals untouched by human contact. Sophie was transfixed... We all were.

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