Whale-watching had never been on my bucket list.
I have a constant fear of drowning in the dark bottomless sea, and I love my sea creatures served on a plate, both raw and cooked. So when Liz suggested for Fafa and me to go whale watching at Gold Coast, I wasn’t too sure. The anniversary/new year’s eve day we had in Thailand, of embracing the choppy sea, in a fast-moving ferry, while trying not to die of the horrible food poisoning, didn’t feel that far away. Then again, the Melbourne Cup long weekend was long enough not to do it. Also, I thought this could serve as a payback to those sea lovers who went to Harry Potter theme parks just because they had the chance even though they were not a fan. Yes, I could be vindictive when I want to. Ha!
It was a sunny morning. We boarded the boat and started our journey from the Nerang River to the vast Pacific Ocean. We swallowed the $2 travel sickness pill given on-board and were warned that it might be hard to see any whale, as it was the last day of the year. That was fine by me, I didn’t come with much expectation, as long as none threw up on board, myself included.
Minutes later, when we were in the open sea and the captain asked us to keep a lookout for any water eruption sign.
At first, nothing happened and I was already like, “Ugh, this is going to take all day, I didn’t come all the way to Gold Coast just for this!”. But then someone from the upper deck noticed something and off we go to the 9 o’clock direction before stopping near what looked like flat water in the middle of a wavy ocean. Apparently, it was the footprint of the whale, who just emerged and dived back seconds ago. I was pondering on why it’s called a footprint, not a flip print when people on the other side of the boat shouted something in Japanese (our boat was loaded by multi-cultural tourists).
Then I saw it, up close and personal, a Humpback whale! Two Humpback whales! A mama and a baby whale, emerging from the water and swimming gracefully.
The baby whale was still very young. This family was about to travel back to the Antarctic where their food, planktons, are mostly located. They will then come back to the continent’s shore annually to give birth. The captain said the baby whale will live up to 60 years, which means it will outlive most of us on the boat. How is that for an overall humbling experience?
We chased one whale after another for a good few hours. Meanwhile, the captain kept encouraging us to communicate with them. He said the whales love it when we make sound and wave to them.
Under normal circumstances, my bitter soul would find it moronic, but not that day, my friends! Bearing the sun at its peak and the shaky boat, I was all talk to the whales. I think it worked as just before we head back to the pier, a whale gave us a once in a lifetime performance. It kept breaching from the water, slapping its’ fins, and dancing around the boat as if it was saying goodbye to us.
Reflecting back, the whole experience was pretty spiritual. At the open water, practically in the wild, I could really feel felt the connection between us humans and those majestic whales. It also nudged me to appreciate the concept of nature beyond the trees and land.
My only regret was not bringing my DSLR, I would have caught those sexy curves better. Maybe this could be an excuse for another whale watching session?
If you get a chance to go whale watching, don’t miss it, even if whales are not really your thing. If you are going to the Gold Coast, do it in June through December. You might even be able to see it from the beach.