Great Lakes whale sightings

Eric Rice took this picture of a whale coming up behind his boat
Eric Rice took this picture of a whale coming up behind his boat

The whales are truly out and about at the moment, as Stuart Cameron knows all too well.

While out fishing at Cape Hawke a couple of weeks ago, he managed to capture some great footage of a whale coming right up to his four metre tinny. 

“The whales have been quite inquisitive and come right up to my boat,” he said.

“I had a whale calf follow me around a few weeks ago off Cape Hawke and had two large whales go right under the boat so close. I did worry (a lot) that their tails might knock the boat.”

Eric Rice also shared footage of his own whale sighting, and said it was the best experience ever.

“It was from a year ago and was just me in a five metre tinny,” he said.

“I had a few of them circle my boat for like 20 minutes. I wasn't able to capture it on film but one of them came within four metres of my boat and floated there starring at me for a good few seconds.”

In what has been a great few weeks for whale sightings in the area, a relaxed Sunday morning of fishing was nearly turned upside down when a humpback whale set its sights on a small tinny in Forster on November 12.

Mark Jensen could do nothing but pull out his camera and snap a few photos as the whale advanced on the boat.

“As we watched on helplessly from Main Beach, a humpback whale began stalking the tiny fishing boat,” he said.

“It was several hundred metres out, and there were three fishermen on board.

“I had gone out for breakfast with friends, and were walking along the water feeding the ducks when I looked up and saw the aluminium boat a few hundred meters away. About 50 metres to the left was what looked like a humpback whale.”

As the whale advanced towards the boat, Mark became concerned, thinking the large animal had his eye on a prize.

“I don’t know if it was terrorising them, or stalking them or something, or just curious, but it kept getting closer. The boat would have been about four metres, and the whale was at least twice that size.

“They tend to be pretty noisy, with their water spouts, and the guys on the boat stood up and started looking a bit concerned as it kept getting closer. 

“I guess the whale was just being curious, but a small aluminium runabout would have been no match for this giant of the ocean. 

“It would have been a simple flick of the tail, and this tiny fishing boat would have capsized.”

Mark watched on as the fishermen appeared to decide it was time to go, turning on the engine and jetting away.

“They are very inquisitive animals, and they tend to get too close,” Mark said.

As we watched on helplessly from Main Beach, a humpback whale began stalking the tiny fishing boat.

Mark Jensen

“I’ve had my own close call with an inquisitive whale, and it can be quite scary. 

“It happened a few years ago, when I was on a fishing trip in Coffs Harbour with a mate.

“I saw this big whale swimming around the boat, and thought nothing of it. But then the boat started lurching and tipping.

“The whale had somehow gotten tangled up with the anchor rope, and pulled the boat down to about a 45 degree angle.

“It was really pretty scary, luckily I had a knife near by, and I cut the rope. We got out of there pretty quickly.

“These fishermen now have personal tales of woe, after themselves being ‘the one's that got away’.”