Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Orcas in the Bay

A couple of months ago, my husband & I drove up to Maryborough, QLD. For Michael, it was a work conference but for me, the opportunity for a change of scenery.

As we were only a 40 minute drive from Hervey Bay, I decided to check if the Humpback Whales had made their way that far north on their northern migration. Unfortunately it was too early, BUT I discovered there was a pod of Orcas (Killer Whales) that had managed to get themselves stranded in the "Great Sandy Straits" -  the body of water between Fraser Island and the Mainland. This is the first time this has happened.

So, I organised to go on one of the Dolphin Watching Cruises in the bay, hoping to get a sighting of the Orcas. When I called to book, I was assured that there would be Orca sightings! We left at 8am and returned around 2:30pm.

Here are some of the first images I took...



The Department of Marine Parks and the Seaworld Research & Rescue Foundation were out on the bay observing the Orca pod, checking on their health status (3 of the pod of 12 died) and hoping the Orcas would return to the open sea...


No boats, other than the Department of Marine Parks and the Seaworld Research & Rescue Foundation. were allowed within 300m of the pod so we were ordered to cut the engines when we approached that vicinity. However the inquisitive Orcas decided to take a closer look and came right up to our boat...



It was a wonderful experience to see these incredible creatures in the wild...




I had such a wonderful time, so I booked another cruise for the following day (at a 20% discount). The weather was dry but extremely foggy the next day. Visibility was difficult...

But I still managed some great shots as the Orcas came right up to our boat again...






About a week or so after this, the Orca pod made their way back out into the ocean.
It is thought the reason they came into the bay was because the 3 that died were unwell. It appeared that the pod would not leave due to mourning the loss of their family members.

It certainly was the experience of a lifetime!!

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23 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

sorry to hear 3 of 12 died. so sad when those marine beauties get stranded or beach themselves.

Joop Zand said...

It's a little bit sad.....but your pictures are very good good Liz.

Greetings, Joop

http://joopzandfotografie.blogspot.nl

eileeninmd said...

How sad that a few of them have died. They are amazing and I would love to see them in the wild. I hope they find their way soon. Awesome photos!

Filip Demuinck said...

Waw what an experience Liz. Love your pictures.

Greetings,
Filip

Lisa Gordon said...

My goodness, they are beautiful creatures, Liz. It is so sad that some were lost.

Thank you for sharing these wonderful images here.

Brian King said...

Fantastic! Most of us will never see these in the wild. Great photos! I hope the rest of them made it back to the open ocean.

Jo said...

Fabulous photos and what a great experience..

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

What a great experience and glad you got to see them close up. Sad about the 3 that died. I hope the rest found their way back to the ocean.

mick said...

A great series of photos and so good that you have posted them to let others see. Some years ago I took a whale watching tour out from Seattle and we saw Orcas - but not that close. You were very lucky to get such great close-up views.

stiefbeen said...

zo dichtbij?? maar je kan ze zo wel heel goed opserveren.

Carole M. said...

it seems perhaps you didn't have to go 'out' too far to see these Liz? Just a wonderful time for you and to experience that twice in two days!!

ladyfi said...

How amazing to see the whales up so close.

Stewart M said...

Wow! I'm green with envy - theses are in my top five (not that I really have a list, honest!) animals I would love to see!

Great pictures.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Gary Phillips said...

Wow is all I can say!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Seeing Each Day said...

What a great experience - good on you for going again the next day to enjoy more of it.

Betty Luckhurst said...

What an incredible adventure! I love that the whales seem to have human feelings.

Indrani said...

Wow! seeing so many together, how exciting!

MastHoliday said...

Amazing views to see! love its, specially 1st one..such you have a remarkable experience...

Noel Morata said...

wow, great captures, amazing to see this whole pod in the area and work being done.

Pat Tillett said...

Very sad about the three that died, but a great thing that more of them weren't sick. Nice photos! What a great opportunity.

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Miss E (5) has been telling me about Orcas recently, she would have loved to have seen these!

retriever said...

Great series photos, and experience.

GB said...

I was wondering this morning what you were up to and why you hadn't been blogging. So I mosied over only to find that you've been blogging all along but that you haven't been appearing on the reading list on my dashboard. So, once again, I have some catching up to do.

You were fortunate to see the Orcas. We had a pod in the bay below my house in Scotland a few winters ago but, of course, I was in New Zealand and missed them. They turned the bay red because they found a family or two of seals in the bay.

Nature can sometimes seem very cruel to us.

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