Whale Season 2013
Whale Season - early sightings at Portland
Fine weather and blue skies in Warrnambool this morning, although still a bit damp underfoot as there was some rain overnight, however currently we have ideal conditions for spotting the first whale for the 2013 whale watching season.
Local whale watchers are eagerly anticipating the start of the whale season as reports have been received from both Portland and Victor Harbour of Southern Right whales sighted over the weekend. The Portland sighting was on Saturday where a single Southern Right whale was sighted about 200 metres from the lighthouse and a single whale was sighted at Victor Harbour on Sunday. The whale was not identified, and presumed to be a Southern Right.
The Portland sighting in particular, gives some indication that there are whales in the area and the first sighting in Warrnambool could be within the next few days. The first sightings for the season will most likely be of migrating whales and not be visible for any length of time, although in previous years Warrnambool has had some examples where early in the season whales have spent one or two days at Logan’s beach before moving on.
Locally, there has been an increase in the number of visitors at the Whale lookout this week as visitors and locals anticipate the start of this years whale watching season - The weather has also had some effect as we have expirienced some very pleasant late Autumn sunshine in the last few days.
In Other Whale News
Portland Whale Tourism
In the last two years Portland's tourism has put a lot of effort into promoting Portland as an alternative whale watching destination and have recruited a number of enthusiastic whale spotters and also has set up a dedicated whale reporting site entitled, WhaleMail.com.
During the past two whale seasons the Portland site has presented up to date reports on whale sightings from around the city and outlying areas including Cape Nelson and Cape Bridgewater.
The only disadvantage Portland seems have against locations such as Warrnambool and Victor Harbour is there are no calves born in or around Portland and therefore the whales do not remain in the area for very long.
Until we get a few whale pictures, I will include a few photos from this years surfing season .
|Logans beach is also one of Warrnambool popular surfing spots and gets quite busy during summer as it is close to the beach (less than 100 metres), has good car parking and provides easy access - a legacy of the whale lookout development
| South West Victoria's link
with Southern Right Whales ( Including Logan's beach)
Firstly a few facts - each year between May and June, Southern
Right Whales return to the southern coast of Australia ( also
New Zealand, South Africa and South America) to give birth,
raise their young and commence the breeding cycle again- of
the many thousands of Southern Right Whales on the planet, a
small percentage ( typically about a dozen) arrive in the south
west of Victoria.
What seems to happen is, when they arrive off the coast,
the pregnant females isolate themselves from the pod and search
out a quiet location close to the shore to give birth, and then spend the next few weeks close to the shore while their calves gain strength. This behavoir pattern makes them one of the few species of whale that can be viewed consistently from the shore ( albeit for a few weeks from the birth of their calves). There seems to be a number of favoured locations along souuthern coast where the mothers will shelter with their calves, Warrnambool, Victor Harbour (SA) and Bunda Cliffs (WA) are the best known of these.
Bunda Cliffs on average will have between 30-40 mothers and calves each season, Victor Harbour will have 4 to 6 and Warrnambool seems to average from 2 to 3 mothers and calves each year.
One of the main advantages that Logan's beach offers is the vantage point at Logan's gives such a good
view from the shoreline.
South West Victoria's link with Blue Whales
(Portland - Cape Nelson)
Each year between November and April, along the South West
Coast of Victoria (and South Australia) an oceanographic phenomenon
called ocean upwelling occurs. A combination of winds and
currents cause cold, nutrient-rich bottom water to be forced
to the surface of the ocean. When the nutrients reach the
sunlit surface zone, there is an explosion of minute plant
life which includes 'phytoplankton', the basis of the marine
food chain, and also the primary food of the local species
of krill. The vast numbers of krill form part of an ocean
banquet which attracts large numbers of blue whales to this
feeding ground off Victoria's coast. The event is called "The
Bonney Upwelling" and is one of a handful of sites globally
where Blue whales can be seen surface-feeding. Although the
feeding site extends up to 30 - 50Kms off shore, they are
often sighted closer to shore and between December and May
blue whales are often visible from Cape Nelson, Cape Bridgewater
and the Blowholes, all near Portland. The whales are often
sighted within 10km of land, and sometimes within only a few
hundred metres. Their tall straight blows and silvery backs
can be seen from a great distance, and it likely that most
whales seen blowing out at sea during this period are blue
whales. This is one of the few places in the world where blue
whales can be viewed from land, while they hunt for, and feed
on the abundant swarms of krill which are nourished by the
The Real Whale Facts - an
illustration of how tourism never lets the truth get in the
way of a good story - this small sign is located at the
Logan's beach whale lookout and without peering at the screen
too closely it states "a visit to Flagstaff Hill will
allow you see what life was like when present day Warrnambool
stood at the centre of a large whaling, sealing and fishing
industry". It all sounds very wonderful but the only
problem is that there is absolutely no evidence to suggest
that any whaling or sealing ever took place in Warrnambool.
Warrnambool was not settled until 1848 and by then the whaling
and sealing industries in Port Fairy and Portland had all
but ceased. Records kept from the time of the first settlement
do not mention anything about whaling in the town and as there
has never been any evidence of European occupancy prior to
this date there is nothing to suggest that any whaling and
sealing was ever conducted in Warrnambool.
The notion of Warrnambool's involvement in the whaling industry
is only quite recent and dates back to the 1970's when the
association between whales and tourism became popular and
it became desirable to have some form of historic connection
with the annual visit of the Southern Right whales. Local
tourist advertising then started to imply that Warrnambool
had been settled by whalers and sealers, which they thought
sounded a lot more romantic than being settled by farmers
and shopkeepers. The visitor information centres then repeated
this misinformation in brochures and advertising, also a permanent
display of whaling, whale boats and harpoons was set up in
Flagstaff Hill Maritime village, however none of these artifact
had any connection with Warrnambool. Then the local tourism
body started to promote whale boat races, and over a period
of several years, teams from America competed in an International
challenge series, thus cementing the concept that Warrnambool
was somehow the centre of the whaling industry.
The idea that Warrnambool had some connection while early
whalers might be romantic to some, but it is totally incorrect.
Local Whale Watching
The two main species of baleen whales that migrate to Australian
waters each winter are the Humpback and Southern Right whales,
the Humpbacks are the faster swimmers and they usually arrive
off the south west coast of Victoria in late April to early
They are on their way to Queensland so won't be stoping
off on the way. At present there has been a few whales sightings off the coast but these will be Humpbacks whales and will typically be about
1 or 2 kilometers off shore.
Humpback whales can be seen from the whale lookout at Logans beach but you will need a lot of patience, a good pair of binoculars and a bit of expirience in identifying the whales spouting, also they rarely will come cloer than a kilometer to the shore so don't expect a very close view.
The Southern Right whales, however live their lives at a more pedestrian
pace and swim a little more slowly and their arrival off the
coast of the Victorian mainland will be about a month behind
the humpbacks, with the first sightings typically in late
May to early June.
The Southern Right whales will no go any further north and
prefer a winter holiday in a slightly cooler climate, also the Southern Rights will come a lot closer to the shore and typically during the whale season they can often be seen within 100 metres of the shore.
Although the first sightings around Logans beach will occur
in late May / early June it will probably be Mid June before
any whales take up permanent residence for the winter months,
and hopefully the birth of a calf (or calves) will occur shortly
The car park at Logan's beach is located about 20 metres from the whale lookout and has been designed for easy wheelchair access.
In This Issue
We take a no holds barred look at the regions best accommodation deals and where you should look for this Winter holiday getaway
The Mahogany Ship Legend
The recent launch of a replica Portuguese Caravel built by local resident Graeme Wylie has sparked interest in the legend of the Mahogany ship. This week we take an in depth look at More..
Raglan Motor Inn
Seaview Rooms from $90/night
Raglan Motor Inn
Great prices, and friendly owners make Raglan Motor Inn a fabulous place to stay .
5 minutes drive to Logan's beach and close to Warrnambool's CBD - Prices start from around $85 per night
Raglan Motor Inn has sea views from its front rooms and has off street parking and caters for couples and family bookings -
Click for More information....
|City Heart Motel
$99 per night, per couple, includes cooked breakfast each morning
City Heart Motel
Located 100 metres from Warrnambool's main street (Liebig St ), restaurants, pubs and McDonalds - More information....
Robetown Motor Inn - Robe SA
Great Winter Warmer Deals - escape the winter chills - take a dip in our heated indoor pool and spa and relax in our warm cosy rooms. We are close to the centre of Robe
and walking distance to restaurants and cinema. We have winter weekend escape packages starting from $175 - For more information click
Tips For Whale Watching
- Check with the Warrnambool Visitor Centre
for daily sightings
- Take a good pair of binoculars or telescope
- Be prepared for long periods of waiting
The Southern Right Whales is one of the largest mammals on earth
being only marginally smaller than the Blue and Humpback whales.
Like humans, they are warm blooded, give birth to live, fully
developed young, breathe air, and feed their young on their
The calves are approximately 5 to 6 metres at birth and can
double in weight over the first week An
adult whale averages 15 - 18 metres in length and 50 - 90 tonnes
The Southern Right Whales normally swim between 3 to 9 kilometres
per hour, an they feed in the fertile waters of the Antarctic during summer
They start their annual migration in late March and make their way north to give
birth and to succour their young and then in September ( or
October) return to the Antarctic.
The Southern Right Whale usually breeds every 3 years. The pregnancy
is 11 months. The Southern Right Whales received their name
from early whalers.
This particular whale swims slowly, in herds,
and close to the shore. Once harpooned, they would float on
the surface. These whales produced a large amount of oil and
whalebone, making it an excellent catch, and the 'right' whale
to hunt, today, the Southern Right Whale is protected in Australian
The closest whaling station to Warrnambool, was situated in
Port Fairy where the foundations of the early whaling station
can still be seen close to the Griffith's Island lighthouse
Fun 4 Kids Festival - Warrnambool
30th June to 7th July 2013
X-Factor pop group, "The Collective" will headline this years Fun4Kids festival, along with dozens of other acts including perenial Fun4Kids favourites, "The Wiggles".
This year is the 15th running of the festival and promises to be just as good, if not better than previous years.
The Fun4Kids festival is held in a sprawling 2.5 acre indoor village in the heart of the Warrnambool’s CDB. It offers a feast of arts, hands on activities, interactive workshops and the very best in family entertainment.
Accommodation Bookings and tickets are now on sale - you can check accommodation availability from properties listed on this page
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