“Whale ahead on 11 o’clock!” the captain yelled. We didn’t see much except for an ocean with an endless horizon. Seconds, even minutes, are passing by until we see something that could look like a whale. Until… Wow, unbelievable! We just saw a whale a few hundred meters further ahead jumping in the air. Unfortunately, we were too late to get the action on camera, but this is something we won’t forget very quickly. We just saw our first wild whale.
WHALES IN ALBANY
Every winter, whales are passing by along the west coast of Australia. From June until October, Southern Right Whales and Humpback Whales can be spotted in the waters of Albany. But also from Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse in Augusta, and all the way to the warm breeding grounds of the north Kimberley coast.
The whales are on their long annual migration from the Antarctic to warmer waters in the north. During this migration, they often come close to the coast of West Australia.
We’re spending heaps of time in the Albany region because of our housesitting assignment, so we decided to go on a whale watching tour for Myrthe’s birthday. We always wanted to see these magnificent creatures with our own eyes, so why not now?
And luckily, whales in Albany aren’t uncommon for two reasons.
- The whales often calve and mate in the sheltered waters around Albany.
- Albany has one of the longest whale watching seasons in the world.
WHALE WATCHING ON A CATAMARAN
On the day of the tour, we were blessed with a shining sun and an open sky, which is quite unusual for this time of the year. We arrived at Albany’s harbor around 9 am and John, the captain, welcomed us aboard of his beautiful catamaran. After a brief introduction about the boat and what we are possibly going to see, we left the harbor at 9.30 sharp.
With open sails, the boat glided over the bright blue waters of the Princess Royal Harbour into King George Sound. We passed Seal Island, heading towards the Southern Ocean until the captain saw something far ahead of us.
Sunny, the deckhand, opened another sail to go faster towards what was possibly a breaching whale! Our hearts started to beat a bit harder because of the adrenaline and excitement. Minutes passed by without seeing a sign of a whale, except for a dolphin that came to check us out very quickly, and an albatross that kept following the boat.
THE MOMENT WE SAW OUR FIRST WILD WHALE
Until we saw a whale breaching right ahead of us! Whoa, what an awesome feeling. We just saw our first whale ever! Unfortunately, it was a bit far so we couldn’t see the whale very good. So we tried to get a bit closer.
The captain followed the whale’s footprints in the open sea. After a couple of minutes, we saw two whales swimming right next to each other just a couple of meters from the boat. This was probably a mother with her child. The boat couldn’t go closer than 100m for the safety of the whales and to respect their space.
We followed them and some other whales that were swimming in the neighborhood for an hour around Bald Head. One even came up close to the boat to check out what we were doing. And let me tell you this, it’s really spectacular to see these amazing creatures from this close.
After hours enjoying the presence of the whales around us, the boat headed back towards Albany. But the tour wasn’t over yet. John made a small detour to show us a spot on one of the islands where seal colonies often gather to laze on the warm rocks in the sun.
Our first whale encounter was a really amazing experience on a beautiful sunny day here in Western Australia.
If you’re also interested in seeing whales in Albany, WA, then we can’t recommend Albany Whale Tours with their Sail-A-Way catamaran enough! The whole crew is very experienced and have significant knowledge about the whales, all the other animals you come across and the surroundings. During our sailing experience, we got treated with tea and coffee, hot finger food and scones with delicious jam homemade by Johns wife!
* Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. We just wanted to write about our cool whale watching experience in Albany.
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