Having a whale of a time off the coast of Byron
AN estimated 15,000 to 20,000 humpback whales migrate along the East Coast of Australia each year and Byron Bay residents and visitors are uniquely placed to witness their passage.
Among the options available for those keen to catch a glimpse of these majestic mammals are whale-watch operators Blue Bay Divers and Byron Bay Whale Watching.
Blue Bay Divers director Christina Gray said it had been a fantastic season with the company conducting about 100 trips with an average of10-25 sightings per trip.
"They travel from June through to October and this year they came through with a big bang and there were whales everywhere," she said.
Ms Gray said guests had enjoyed some spectacular sights but few got to see famous white whale Migaloo.
"Migaloo went up really early this year passing us in June and returning in August," she said.
"But we did see an all-white calf with a black dorsal fin which was exciting for the customers.
"One of the other highlights was watching a whale feed which is unusual as it has previously been thought that they don't feed at all on their migration.
"There is more and more evidence that they are opportunistic feeders and with all the bait fish around at the moment it was a unique site as it came up with the classic open-mouth pose.
"Also for one month we witnessed massive pods of 200-300 dolphins around Brunswick Heads."
Ms Gray said July and August generally provide optimal viewing conditions but it is hard to predict patterns of behaviour.