Breaching Whale, Heron Island, Australia

A few years ago I was lucky enough to live/work on the Great Barrier Reef.  It was a speck in the Coral Sea called Heron Island.  Each year, humpback whales migrate past Heron Island so for the 3 years I lived there I had a number of up close and personal experiences with these gentle giants.  My most amazing whale encounter happened one afternoon when my partner Dave and I went out on a tandem surfski (open kayak), basically a flimsy bit of foam, to watch a humpback that had been basking on the waters surface for about half and hour.  
Knowing the rules about not getting close to whales etc, we kept our distance..... we were also still only in very shallow water on the reef flat and the whale was in the deeper water off the reef ledge.  As we sat in awe of this amazing creature we were suddenly given the adrenalin shock of our life when the whale flicked its tail and disappeared under the water. During this couple of seconds we thought our whale friend had decided to swim off but to our utter shock, what we saw next was a 9+ metre humpback shoot out of the water and into the air straight in front of us.  As it surfaced we couldn't have been more than 10 metres away from it.  It was absolutely amazing!!!  A moment in time that I will never forget.  The whale then hung around for another couple of minutes and then went on its merry way.  
To this day, when I think about that moment, I still feel my heart start to race.

Happy Whale Wacthing to one and all!

You can read more about my animal encounters at  

TiffL TiffL
Aug 6, 2010