Home' Traveller : Scoop Traveller WA 018 Contents June-December 2010 Scoop Traveller 253
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insider Dunsborough & Yallingup
DID YOU KNOW...
‘Yallingup’ means ‘place of love’ in Noongar, and you’ll
find plenty of places to get close and snuggly around
this region. Take a romantic weekender at a quiet bed
and breakfast or cottage, pamper yourself at one of
the many day spas, take a long lunch at a winery, or
rely on the classics and take a stroll along the beach
before snuggling up by the fireplace.
It’s the mums and their calves which you’re most likely to see if you’re up for some
whale watching. They are the ones that stop off in Geographe Bay so they can get
up their strength for their long migration down to Antarctica. While we get huge
numbers of humpbacks heading south after breeding in warmer climes, we are lucky
to also have the largest number of blue whales to pass by on any coast in the world.
With adults growing up to 35 metres and weighing 25 tonnes, it’s a sight to behold.
Cape Naturaliste is also a paradise for a whale-spotter – it’s there that you can see
these great creatures from October to November and into December.
SPOTTING FROM DRY LAND
The best three land-based places to see whales are:
Point Piquet A monitoring group comes to the point every year, giving you the
opportunity to chat with scientists and volunteers to learn more about whales.
Geographe Bay The best spot to sight a blue whale – in fact, Geographe Bay is
the only place in Western Australia you’ll see these slow-moving giants, which stop
off here for the entire season (October-December).
Cape Naturaliste The lighthouse here is another good vantage point – just
remember to take binoculars. If you don’t want to chance it, click on to Australia’s
South West Facebook page for up to-the-minute locations and community blog info.
SPOTTING FROM A kAYAk
Local whale watcher Michael Wise, from Cape Kayaks, says it’s important to obey
specific laws that are in place to protect whales. In fact, he recommends that you
head out to sea with a guide. You’re not permitted closer than 100m to a whale and
you shouldn’t approach one head-on, or chase it from behind. It’s best to position
yourself parallel to it. “ We often have experiences where a whale or pod of whales
will surface alongside our kayaks (inside 20m). Over the past few years, I’ve learned
that the humpback is quite inquisitive and will move towards the kayaks for a closer
look. In this situation, we raft all vessels together and remain quiet, enjoying the
experience,” Michael says. “Unfortunately, there’s no way of paddling fast enough to
get away from a whale. If it wants to check us out, it will. To this date, I have never
felt like I’ve interfered with the whales or been in danger.” So, if you want to try your
luck in getting up close, best get in contact with a tour operator.
The later months of the year are whale-watching season
– here are the best tips for observing these majestic creatures.
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