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Posted on: July 16, 2012
Pacific Whale Foundation to Introduce New Whalewatch Cruises in Hervey Bay
Learn more about Pacific Whale Foundation's 2013 whalewatch tours in Australia and our Australia whale research.
Pacific Whale Foundation, a non-government organisation that has been studying humpback whales off East Australia since 1984 and in Hervey Bay since 1987, will be offering whalewatch cruises for the public in Hervey Bay, Queensland, starting on July 28, 2012.
"Hervey Bay is one of the world's most unique places for watching, studying and learning about humpback whales," says Greg Kaufman, founder and Executive Director of Pacific Whale Foundation. "There is no other place in the world where humpback whales exhibit an overt interest in whalewatch vessels and the passengers on board. This provides some of the most gentle, benign, yet close encounters of humpback whales – truly once-in-a-lifetime experiences that are found nowhere else along the east coast of Australia.”
Established in 1980, Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF) is a NGO that conducts whale, dolphin and marine research throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans. With operations in Hawaii, Australia and Ecuador, PWF is funded nearly 100% through public support and contributions, and from profits from its whalewatch subsidiary operations.
Raising Funds for Education, Outreach, Conservation and Research
On July 28, PWF will commence offering whalewatch tours in Hervey Bay. Profits from its Hervey Bay cruises will support Pacific Whale Foundation's studies of humpback whales, educational programs for local youth, community outreach and conservation programs in Australia.
"Our Hervey Bay whalewatches will depart daily from Urangan Harbour, and will be led by our certified marine naturalists, along with several researchers who will be gathering data on the whales we encounter," says Kaufman. "To date, we have identified more than 6,000 whales off East Australia during our research efforts. We have proven that whalewatch vessels are excellent platforms of opportunity on which to augment our research data collection.”
"The cruises will feature a Jr. Naturalist program for children and will include opportunities to listen to humpback whales on underwater hydrophones. Each party will also receive a full colour whalewatch guide, created by our research and education team, to take home."
Whale sightings will be guaranteed. In the unlikely event that whales are not found, guests on that cruise will receive a "Just a Fluke" coupon to go again free.
"It is our intention to contribute to Hervey Bay's future, by helping to build an even stronger awareness of the whales and create a more dynamic whalewatch tourism trade," says Kaufman.
Working in Hervey Bay Since 1987
Pacific Whale Foundation assisted with the filming of the television documentary of "The Long Journey Back" which detailed the recovery of humpback whales in Australian waters. The documentary was filmed in 1987 and helped to put Hervey Bay on the map as a premier whalewatch location.
"We started the filming in the Great Barrier Reef but then received a call about humpbacks in Hervey Bay," recalls Kaufman. "The local TV station flew me up in a helicopter to inspect, and as I surveyed the Bay at sunset, I counted over 40 whales."
"Three weeks later we moved our research team from Point Lookout (off Brisbane/Moreton Island) to Hervey Bay," he notes.
Since then, Pacific Whale Foundation has spent nearly $3 million on whale research in Hervey Bay. The data from the studies is provided to the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage, and also to the Southern Ocean Research Partnership and the International Whaling Commission's Scientific Committee.
Shortly after taking Queensland'S Minister of the Environment and the media on a whalewatch tour in Hervey Bay in 1988, Kaufman suggested that he consider creating a marine park for whales in Hervey Bay—which the Minister agreed to and the park was created within a year from that initial whalewatch.
Pacific Whale Foundation's scientists were also instrumental in helping to develop the original Whale Management and Monitoring Zone plan for Hervey Bay Marine Park that led to the creation of whalewatching permits.
Since 1987, Pacific Whale Foundation has routinely supported local whalewatch operators, conveying information and sightings to the operators, and also provided naturalists and researchers to narrate and lead whalewatches.
Working Locally, Acting Globally on Behalf of Whales and Whalewatching
"We are champions of the industry and have represented issues affecting Hervey Bay at the International Whaling Commission, United Nations, International Society for the Protection of Animal Welfare and other international ventures," says Kaufman, who recently was in Panama, as an invited member scientist and contributor of the International Whaling Commission's Scientific Committee.
Pacific Whale Foundation's whalewatch operation in Hervey Bay is a fully registered Queensland business. The whalewatch cruises will depart daily from Urangan Harbour on Explorer, a 28-metre vessel that is newly back on the water following an extensive $2.4 million interior upgrade. Explorer has full wrap-around decks at multiple levels, plus a water-level viewing platform, offering optimum viewing for all passengers.
Fully licensed, Explorer has a large galley offering refreshments, snacks, breakfast and lunch items. The air-conditioned interior features comfortable booth-style seating with tables and padded seats. Each trip wlll include complimentary morning or afternoon tea.
PWF will be offering daily whalewatches departing at 8 am and returning at 12:30 pm. Weekend afternoon/sunset whalewatches will be offered starting August 11. Prices are extremely affordable: $85 for adults, $75 for students and seniors, and $42.50 for children ages 7 to 12. Children ages 6 and under go free, one per paying adult.
A family rate of $230 will be offered to families comprised of two adults and two children (ages 7 -14). Additional children are $38.
Building Awareness of Hervey Bay's Unique Whalewatching Opportunities
"It is our intent to bring value back to Hervey Bay whalewatching, inspire local stewardship and awareness of the whales and the Great Sandy Marine Park,” says Kaufman. “We also hope to expand international awareness of Hervey Bay’s unique whalewatching opportunities.”
“Our goal is to bring innovation, new marketing and ticket price value to strengthen Hervey Bay’s brand and build awareness of Hervey Bay’s unique whalewatching opportunities,” comments Kaufman. "We are looking to build awareness of whalewatching in the Bay, so that all associated with tourism and whalewatching may benefit this year, and during the years ahead."