Having a whale of a time...

Trip Start Jan 31, 2006
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33
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Trip End Dec 11, 2006


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Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Richard

For our first main stop on the West coast we had decided to visit Albany down in the Southwest which is known as one of the best places in Australia to view whales. It took us several hours to drive down from Perth but we had a great place to stay when we arrived. We'd wanted to stay in a little one bed studio near to the harbour but they were all booked out. Fortunately, the owners had another property which was empty, a 3 bed townhouse, and they let us have that one instead for the same price as one of the studios! One of the best bits was that after staying in several hotel/motels we now had somewhere with a sofa to put our feet up on and a kitchen where we could do some cooking.

We'd arranged to go whale watching on our second day in Albany so spent our first day catching up with ourselves; washing clothes, writing our diaries and taking it easy. We did head out at dusk though to see the nearby blowholes, gap and natural bridge. Unfortunately, the blowholes weren't in action as the swell wasn't great enough to force any water through them, but the gap and natural bridge were very impressive as you should be able to see from the photos we took. Before heading back we also stopped at the beautiful Bay of Martyrs where we watched the sun go down.

The next day was whale watching so we packed our things back into the car early and headed down to the harbour. There we were met by our captain, John, together with his crew, Tony and Michelle. After a quick talk by John on what we hoped to see, we headed out of the harbour with all eyes glued to the horizon. On the way out we saw 4 dolphins and a humpback whale but neither stayed around for very long. We then had an hour or so without any sightings before John's decision to head back to harbour the long way round paid off in spades. Just off one of the beaches we spotted a Southern Wright whale with her calf. It was amazing to see both animals up close and although not as dramatic as, say, a humpback leaping out of the water during its mating dance, both Fiona and I felt very privileged to have seen one of these huge animals up close, particularly with its calf.

John had been a great captain as he knew all about the local environment as well as its wildlife. His talks together with the whales we had seen meant that the trip was certainly worth the money. After thanking John for his efforts we returned to dry land and our little car. Next stop was Margaret River further north up the coast where we would be staying for 3 nights before heading back to Perth. Unfortuntely, because the drive was more cross-country it proved to be a long one and it wasn't until quite late in the evening that we arrived at our destination, Smiths Beach.
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