The majestic whale was almost hunted to complete extinction, as human mercilessly slaughtered the whale for its blubber and oil. It took a Scandinavian student in the mid-1970s to start the ‘save the whale’ movement, which opened the world’s eyes to what was happening to these amazing mammals and within a decade, whale hunting was banned globally, with the exception of a few Innuit populations that were allowed to harvest a small number of whales. All of the different whale species are now enjoying a steady recovery and here are some of the different species of whale.
- The Humpback Whale – Book a trip whale watching in Eden, NSW, for the best whale watching experience. The first leg of the huge Humpback migration begins in May, when thousands of Humpbacks head north to the Great Barrier Reef from their feeding grounds in Antarctica. In August and September, the whales return with their calves in tow, which is a wonderful thing to observe. Aside from their amazing surface behaviours, the Humpback has learned to ‘bubble feed’, which involves a whale circling the prey and creating a ring of bubbles, which pushed the small fish closely together, making it easier to harvest.
- The Blue Whale – One of the Baleen family of whales, the Blue Whale is the largest creature ever to have inhabited the Earth (as far as we know) and the largest of all lives on the smallest creatures in the ocean, krill. The Grey Whale is very similar to the Blue Whale and feeds in much the same way, expanding their mouth to capture all the tiny ocean creatures and filtering them from the water.
- The Southern Right Whale – This is a ‘skimmer’, a species that gather food by slowly swimming with open mouth and the Southern Right is often seen with the Humpbacks when they migrate.
- The Sperm Whale – This animal can grow to 20m long and weigh as much as 60 tonnes and they have the biggest bran of any living creature.
- The Beluga Whale – A toothed whale that lives in the polar regions and they are mainly white in colour. This species does not have a dorsal fin and has a very long tusk-like tooth, while its cousin the Narwal is a similar size and they are often found together.
If you would like to book a whale watching trip, search online for an operator that runs from Eden, NSW, which is the best region for observing the annual Humpback migration. Aside from the Humpback, you might see Southern Right, Minke or even the huge Blue Whale, plus there are pods of Bottle-Nose Dolphins and Orca.