Thursday, July 17, 2014

Whale Watching


Two posts in one week, this must be a record. We had an unexpected adventure today that turned out to be amazing. This morning I had planned on spending our day running little errands like getting a birthday present for a party Ella is invited to this Saturday. I happen to look at Facebook when I saw a post on a local mom’s group I am a part of, someone mentioned there was a pregnant whale off of Long Reef Beach very close to the shore. As I was getting ready I just kept thinking how much fun it would be for the kids to see a whale up close and how much I want to see a whale up close, not just off on the horizon. I decided to make a detour and see if we could find anything, we grabbed the camera and headed out the door.

I had never been to Long Reef beach so we had to find it and then we trekked down to the beach only to find it empty and no sign of anything. We walked up and down a bit but there was nothing to see but at this point I had been selling a whale sighting pretty hard to the kids and I was determined to find something. Maybe chanting “we’re whale explorers!” should have waited until I knew if we would actually see a whale. There was a headland at the end of the beach so we drove down further and before getting the kids out I jumped to see if there was any sign of a whale or a crowds and didn’t see anything. It’s amazing how helpful things like a community group could be, there must have been multiple people like me driving around looking because when I checked the mom’s group again someone had just posted that she was a Warriewood beach and the whale was right there. We quickly headed down and got to the beach as fast as we could.

It was unbelievable, there was a Southern Right Whale about 30 yards off the shore. There were people above the beach taking pictures and people on the beach watching but not huge crowds, the kids were able to run around on the beach and play while the adults took pictures. The first thing I noticed was a woman in an orange vest walking around handing out fact sheets on the southern right whale, she came up to us right away once she saw the kids. She immediately reassured us that the whale wasn’t beached and appeared to be perfectly healthy and happy. There were NPWS rangers there that were out in the water at a distance from the whale and on the shore, I assume they were there to assist should the whale become beached or to prevent people from getting too close. While we were there I didn’t see anyone trying to get close or in the water, everyone seemed happy to just sit back and watch. It sounds like later in the day they had some problems but while we were there it was one of those unique environments when everyone is just excited and happy to be seeing something so rare.

We happen to run into a mom I met through the mops group I joined so we just sat on the beach and chatted while the kids played. I found myself too slow to catch the more dramatic photo opportunities and reminding the kids to turn around and look at the whale. Turns out a 2 and 4 year old don’t quite appreciate how amazing the experience of seeing a whale up close is but they did get some good sightings in between running around with their new friend. The whale wasn’t doing huge jumps or putting on a show but instead it just seemed to be swimming around the area, rolling over, and poking its head out.









We ended up not accomplishing any errands today but it was a very good day.

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