Harbour Life: Whale Watching

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Sydney-siders spend much of their waking hours either on, or in the water. Being the water baby that I am, I had the great pleasure of being treated with a late birthday present from one of my dearest friends that involved cruising around on the water watching the ocean’s greatest mammals swim by…

The Humpback Whale migration passing Sydney takes place between April and December each year. The season is split into two distinct sections depending on the direction of travel of the majority of whales at that time.

The migrating population is named the Group 5 Southern Hemisphere Humpback whale population or the Australian East coast Humpbacks. As distinct from other humpback migration populations that travel along the West Australian and South African coasts.

The distance from the coast of the whales is believed to be based on the movements of the ocean currents, primarily the East Australian Current. The East Australian Current is a strong southerly current that the humpback whales make use of during their southern migration. On the Northern migration the Humpback whales will often use the Inshore Northern current, which is a north flowing counter current to the EAC. The main purpose of the annual humpback migration is to breed. At this time of the year, whales migrate from Antarctica, and head North for the Great Barrier Reef.

We took to Sydney Harbour and jetted for about an hour outside of the Heads. Here, we were lucky to spot two whales – one, a 4-5 year old Humpback who treated us to a breach. Amazing!