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The Rock-itt : July 2010
The whale migration season is now in full effect. We have Humpback Whales migrating just off the Northern Beaches on their way up to warmer northern waters to breed. The Humpies have spent our summer down in the Antarctic doing whatever whales do and we are blessed with their presence. They'll be making the return journey from October to the end of November, and hopefully we'll get to some playful juvenile action on the way down. If you haven't got all day to give over to a boat trip out to see them, the Harbour Jet Cruiser will wiz you out and back from Circular Quay in two hours. The Jetcruiser, the very fast way to go whale watching! Bookonthewebat; Jetcruiser.com.au it will cost you $69 for an adult and $45 for kids. The vast majority of whales we see traveling past the Beaches are humpbacks although there has been a solo Blue Whale spotted in the last couple of years. I wanted to see a different type so I took myself off to South Australia, in search of the Southern Right Whale. Every year, between June and October up to 100 Southern Rights congregate just off the cliffs at the Head of Bight. It's that bit on the bottom of Australia that looks like it's had a bite taken out of it. The whales, almost all females, gather there to give birth. The first new born seen this year was born on June 10th. My journey took me to Adelaide; Virgin Blue will take you down and back for around $200 at the moment which looks like a good deal to me. The Nullarbor Plain, front and back! From Adelaide and this is where it gets a bit expensive, I took a Rex flight to Ceduna, it'll cost you about $410 return for this bit but it does save you a ten hour drive! At Ceduna I stayed at the Best Western Foreshore Motel which was great fun with very friendly locals. The Nullarbor, the dream job if you are a tarmacer!! If you timed your trip later in the Whale season you could take in the famous Ceduna Oyster fest which is held on the October long weekend. I can't stand oysters but there's heaps of other stuff to do around Ceduna. I hired a car from here and headed even further west, about two and a half hours on the Nullarbor to the Nullarbor Roadhouse where I spent a couple of nights. The Roadhouse is, unsurprisingly not particularly fancy but they do have four backpacker rooms, I took one and paid $30 a night. I was really excited the following morning when I opened my door to find three Dingoes asleep on my doorstep! From the Roadhouse it's a 20km drive to the Head of Bight Interpretive Centre site. It's a great place built and looked after by the Ananga and Wirangu people. There are toilet facilities and a café; the custodians have built walk ways Silhouette of the interpretive centre at the Head of Bight. down close to the water so the whales are really easy to see. It's an awesome spot at the side of the 75 metre high Bunda Cliffs. The sea here is a marine park so no-one is allowed to go out on the water, the whales have it all for themselves. The top viewing platform at the centre, looking along the Bunda Cliffs. The Right whale, so named because for the Whalers they were the right whale to kill. They're slow moving, swim close to the shore and when killed they float. They have been a protected species since the 1930's. There are three recognized species of Right whales. Scientists confirmed this by studying parasitic whale lice. Some people get all the best jobs don't they? There are only about 200 Right whales surviving in the North Pacific, and perhaps fewer than 400 in the North Atlantic. Better news here in the Southern Hemisphere, species number about 8,000 to 10,000.