Day Three of our South Coast road trip brought us to the highlight (for me) of our trip, and the main reason we were in Eden – the Eden Whale Watching cruise on Twofold Bay.
Cat Balou run cruises all year round from a 72 seat vessel, but September to November is whale watching time during the Humpback Whale southern migration. Whales travel a distance of around 10,000km on their migration. While the whales pass Eden on both the southern and northern migration, its only on the southern migration that they are close enough to shore to see. On the northern migration most are only seen further out to sea and only a very few venture into Twofold Bay.
Leaving from Snug Cove at Eden Wharf we cruised around the bay for three and half hours, sighting pods of dolphins a few seals and three whales. Twofold Bay is one of the deepest natural harbours in the world and the only port on the Sapphire Coast which has direct ocean access with no sand bars to negotiate.
From the 1820’s until 1930 whales were hunted in Twofold Bay by men in open wooden boats and assisted by a pack of killer whales.
Ben Boyd Tower, which was originally planned as a lighthouse but never approved by the government as it was on private land, was used as a whale spotting tower. After being hunted close to extinction, the population was estimated at 200 in 1962. In 2013 the whale population was estimated at 14,000 and increasing by 11% a year.
I had been hoping to get a whale leaping out of the water ‘spy hopping’ but they weren’t co-operating that day and we had to settle for several ‘breachings’ where the whale generates enough upward force with its powerful tail flukes to lift thirds of its body out of the water before coming down in a thunderous splash.
The underpart of each tail fluke is like a ‘fingerprint’ with no two tails having the same markings. Whale Facts