Another terrific whale season is almost complete in Hervey Bay, Australia, as Pacific Whale Foundation’s research team come to the tail end of collecting fluke identification and distribution data that will be compiled with 30 years of research in the area.
Southern hemisphere humpback mothers and calves are the last to be spotted as they complete their annual southward migration to the Antarctic feeding grounds. PWF researchers are assimilating data to take back to our research headquarters on Maui, where photographs and findings will be analyzed.
I will be traveling southeast to New Zealand and explore ‘middle Earth’ before ending my journey with a 10 hour flight back to Hawaii, just in time for our whale season to unfold as the Northern hemisphere humpbacks begin to arrive from their Alaska feeding grounds.
It’s a bittersweet feeling as I look back at at the past eight weeks spent in Hervey Bay. I had the privilege to meet and encounter friendly people and interesting animals. I will miss the dozens of different species of birds, including the Rainbow Lorikeet, Butcherbird and Minah birds that rallied outside my bedroom window every morning, sometimes too early. I never did get used to driving on the ‘wrong side of the road’, but I did see kangaroos, dingos and emus.
Most of all I will miss the crew of the M.V Amaroo, whom were so welcoming and supportive throughout the season and now I happily call my friends. I look back at long hours at our ocean store, some rough days at sea, cold weather and despite the challenges, feel grateful for the opportunity I had and made possible by our supporters . Australia reminds me of my favorite element fire; wild, vibrant, beautiful, untamed and perilous. It is full of exotic creatures, vast landscapes and lots of G’day’s. I hope to return soon to see more of this alluring country I’ve come to love.