Such is the Life

After a near three days of rough and tough sea conditions, the team has become beyond anxious for some quality research time on the water. A decent weather day has finally come around and the excitement can hardly be contained as we near skip down to the harbor to pack up the boat.

With low wind conditions and calm seas in the forecast we head off for another day of research and discovery… only to “discover” high winds and rough seas. So be it, such is the life of a whale researcher.

Greg turns the boat up swell and we spend the next couple of hours scanning, just waiting for that cooperative competition pod that we dream of (lots of action, flukes at every surfacing, nice close encounters, etc).

It doesn’t take all too long before we have our first sighting, but it soon became apparent that the animal was not interested in being cooperative. Swimming due east underwater for upwards to 15 minutes at a time we waited patiently, as is the key in this field of work, however eventually left the animal to carry on with its mission as we carried on with ours.

Another couple hours of scanning led us to a pod complete with mom, calf, and escort. Thankfully the subdued pod just so happened to be moving north with the swell, making shooting conditions much smoother and simpler for me! Numerous surfacings from the mom and a couple of rolls from the calf later still no flukes, so we decided again to let the pod be. Such is the life of a whale researcher…

With only a couple more hours before the sunset, there’s still hope of finding that dream competition pod. Low lighting across the horizon makes for easy spotting and at this point the winds have dropped off a bit as well. We sit and we wait.. nothing.

A few phone calls to a couple whalewatch operators further down the coast, confirms that it is indeed getting a bit too late in the season here and that it may be time to pack up the land cruiser and head down south. Rumors of “heaps of whales” moving in and out of Hervey Bay and Eden have begun to taunt and tease, and as we look out across the barren horizon it has become apparent that we may be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Well, such is the life… but it’s still a pretty good one.


Annie Macie