Coming back from checking out a wedding venue, my fiancee and I took the ferry between Queenscliff and Sorrento. It was a fine winter’s afternoon around the Heads- a brisk wind that had been casting alternate curtains of rain and shine across the seascape, and the boat was pitchy. About half way into the crossing, the engines slowed and somebody nearby muttered something about the Captain needing to slow down because we were ahead of schedule.
Then the intercom switched on and informed us that ahead of the ferry coming the other way, there was a whale.
It was a Friday afternoon, so although there was a sudden rush for the top deck, that still only made for a handful of us up there. The other ferry was a good half-mile away or so, but we scoured the seas nonetheless, and sure enough, there was soon a puff of white spray as the placid behemoth threw out another steamy breath somewhere out in the bay. We suspected that that would be the last we’d see of it, but we all quietly hoped that it would wander over to check out the thrum of our engines, however unlikely the outcome.
And it did.
A minute or two later, it surfaced with a snort mere metres off the forward bow, to gasps of delight from everybody on the deck. This was one of those flukey occasions when I did, in fact, happen to have my camera with me, and I was able to grab a couple of snaps before the giant mammal slipped back below the waves.
I’ve never seen a whale before, at any distance, and to see one- as unexpected as this, and in as unlikely a location as Port Philip Bay, was thrilling to say the least. There is something undeniably awe-striking about these creatures, and having now seen one relatively close at hand, I can assure you it needs to go onto your must-see list. I, for one, will be looking for any opportunity to get cosy with a whale at some point in the future.
(for reference in the photos, we estimated the whale to be 10-12 metres in length)