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Published September 15th 2013
Gorgeous whales make it worth the seasickness
Whale watching - it's one of those things my partner and I have bleated about doing for years now. So we finally got around to it and the million dollar question has to be is it worth the time and money?
We had booked whale watching a couple of years ago through a company that departs from Redcliffe. Unfortunately it was cancelled due to bad weather but we got our money back and put it back on the to do list. Recently I noticed an "Our Deal" offer for half price whale watching through Whale One, Mooloolaba. Now Mooloolaba happens to be one of my favourite places to holiday so you really didn't need to ask me twice before I jumped on the offer.
Whale One offer a choice of three time slots for their three hour cruise leaving from the Underwater World Wharf. We selected the earliest of the three and dragged ourselves bleary eyed from our Mantra unit for the 7am departure.
Allow me to preface the rest of this review with the fact that, much to many of my seafaring family member's distaste, I am no great lover of open ocean. It doesn't make me actually physically sick but it certainly doesn't make me feel well. My knowledge of this fact probably doesn't help the situation but its just the way things are. The whale watching company do warn you in very large print in several places on their website and ticketing that you should seek medical advice regarding sea sickness prior to getting on the boat. Unfortunately most of the tourists on our boat seemed to feel that this did not apply to them. I personally went for the safe option, slapped on a pair of Seabands and took some Kwells. Sore comfort that was as we left the marina - the captain cheerfully announced that the seas have risen back up to 2.5m swells and that the boat will be 'bobbing around quite a bit today' - there goes my sense of inner calm!
Anyway, after a rather bouncy bar crossing, I ound myself out in the deep blue sea in hunt of the illustrious humpback whale. We spotted two together within the first 20 minutes but unfortunately they are too sleepy to give us much more than a puff of water from their blowhole, so further out we ventured. By this point all the sillier passengers of the boat, who obviously missed the memo regarding sea sickness, came and impinged on my nice fresh aired seat at the back of the boat. Yes, they come bearing sick bags and if there's one thing that makes you feel even worse when you're already a tad queezy, it's other people's illness!
At this point I was feeling as though I was starting to get my sea legs somewhat and did actually manage to enjoy the next six whales (including a baby) that we spotted. Unfortunately for us, the water must have been a bit cold for them because there were no great performances of blubber being thrown out of the water. The luckiest we got was the odd wave of a fin or tale. That said, they are truly awesome animals and it is almost impossible to get a real perspective of just how massive they really are from the deck of the boat.
Another highlight of the Whale One experience has to be Midge the dog. She's a little fox terrier and her ability to spot a whale is phenomenally impressive. She bounces about the boat barking an excitable alarm at every sighting and if you keep her close at hand you're sure to miss none of the action. The staff on the boat also deserve commending. They are helpful, friendly and considerate. Well done to all of them, I know I wouldn't be smiling if I had to deal with that many violently ill passengers!
At the 2.5 hour mark I had definitely had enough of bobbing like a cork and so was not at all disappointed when the captain announced that we would now be heading back for dry land. Did I enjoy seeing the whales? Absolutely, they are beautiful creatures! Would I be rushing back to do it again? Absolutely not. More importantly, if you are thinking of doing it yourself, look for a deal. If I had paid $120 each for the privilege I would have been an even more unhappy sailor, but at $60 each I could almost stomach it.