Tail-gating along the Coffs Coastline, Northern New South Wales, Australia


Tailgating @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

This little story is about ‘tail-gating’ of a different kind.

Colossal and wet @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

A wet and oversized sort.

Fingermark @ Cape Hillsborough, Tropical Queensland, Australia

Catching a decent, or any fish, whilst paddling on the open ocean on my yellow inflatable kayak is most definitely a bonus and largely the aim of my venture. But there is so much more to it, it’s a getaway to life. My life.

Calm conditions @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

When currents and wind are minimal, there is always time for a snooze to the sound of silence. One could hear a needle drop!

A spout far away @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Or a spout in the distance! It is on those days, that I can hear the underwater whale song within the group. It is a goosebump kinda moment.

Alarm tails ringing @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

This is when my alarm goes off and a scan over the horizon begins. There are fascinating animals in and above the sea, which appear on regular basis.

Breath of air @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Turtles use the warm currents to go with the flow and picnic along the way Australia’s productive reefs. It does take a bit of practice to spot these ballon heads popping out of the water. Some need a rest and surface not far from my kayak. The size of some of these creatures is immense.

Flip flap underwater @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

But more often, the flippers flap through the air whilst preparing to dive with one last breath. And sunmerge like aquatic U.F.O.’s in crystal clear waters. 

Lucky shoot @ Crowdy Head, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Dolphins are mostly seen in smaller pods, skimming through the surface. Sometimes, they do come towards me and give me a wink. I have no chance off getting a clear photo-shoot on these intricate marine mammals. Unless I am lucky and they are in playful mode. 

Gigantic showtime @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

But it’s the giants of the ocean that snatch any show I sea so far.

Ocean navigators @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Humpback whales navigate ocean currents as experienced sea fairer to either find a mate or to indulge on smaller crustaceans. 

Fountain look @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Once a whale spout is detected, distance and direction are quickly calculated, before all paddles break loose on my rubber duck.

Calculations @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Estimated speed of the whales is measured with direction, they should emerge somewhere close-by. But then, there is nothing. These whales haven’t surfaced for quite some time! Where could they be?

There they are! @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Holy guacamole, there they are.

Upclose @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Not far from my kayak at all. And wow.

Eye catching @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Look at that gentle giant cruising beside you. Sometimes I have clear eye contact for a brief moment.

Oh what a feeling! @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

More goosebumps! But that’s not all.

Inspection loop @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Now and then, one or more whales decide to have a closer look and glide underneath my kayak. Now that is an indescribable feeling.

Young curiosity @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Young ones are particularly curious. They need to find out what else is meeting them on their long pilgrimages.

Come play with me! @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

So big and so cute. Unbelievable!

Trigger happy! @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

This strategy normally triggers some playfulness within the youngster.

White beacon @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Swimming upside down and showing off a bleach-white belly is generally the start of some antics to come.

I am here! @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

A flipper slap is normally followed, which captures my undecided attention.

G’day! @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

G’day mate! Just another day in paradise. It sure is.

Some baitfish may be detected @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Mom is always encouraged to join in but may be concentrating on a school of baitfish below. A take-away snack is always welcome for the long trek ahead.

Wagtail @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Willy then shakes his tail meters high out of the water, lying vertically beneath the surface.

Outstanding @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Literary outstanding!

Splish splash @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The body position varies from time to time, which has a different splash impact.

Photogenic @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

It is a photogenic spectacular. Yeah right, I am no marine biologist.

More antics @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

But the sequences are often identical within various groups.

Tailprint @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Marine experts can read the tail of each humpback whale like a fingerprint.

Barnacle Joyce @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

They don’t change over the years, just add an impressive barnacle collection.

Undefinable @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Each whale has it’s own defining markings in various sizes and shapes.

Listen to the sounds of nature @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The tails are hard to miss.

Family support @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Whale mothers often guide their young offspring surprisingly close to the shoreline.

Relax when you can @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

These shallower waters are safer than open ocean flows. But it’s a slower route too. Safety first. 

Gigantic gliders @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

It is quite remarkable how these oceanic giants glide effortlessly and gracefully along the surface.

Almost silent @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

The huge tail emerges almost silently in calm waters. The tailgate is on. If there wasn’t that unmissable sound of breathing out.

Early whale detection @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Combined with surface waters, spouts are the easiest way to detect whales from afar. A growling sound is frequently heard as they expel air through their blowhole.

Cruising along @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

It sounds surprisingly similar to the noise elephants make as they pass you by. I observed many similarities between the giants of the sea and terrestrial colossi. I feel at ease with their gentle presence.

Show highlight @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

But it is their acrobatics that impresses anyone, these are real ’jumpback’ whales.

Reaching for the sky @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

This action is commonly known as breaching, reaching to the sky.

Wait for it! @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Often enough, the whole body erupts over still waters, all 20 tonnes. What a sight.

Water cascade @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Water cascades in all directions from the immense body while the jump-back still gains height.

Crash landing @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Before crashing down on his back with an almighty blasting sound. The whale watch crew on the horizon missed this show.

A mighty splash @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

This can be heard for miles on calm days. 

Jump for joy @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

It seems more often to be the playful offspring, that jumps for joy. I would if I could.

Male slap @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Mature male humpback whales jump to impress and intimidate other males. If that doesn’t work, some flipper slapping will continue.

Barnacles @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

These barnacle infested flippers are enormous. Eventually, it is time to move on.

Moving on @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Mom shows the direction to follow, we’re behind schedule.

Time-out @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

I can’t wait for the humpback whales to return for another glorious performance around my kayak. 

Auf Wiedersehen! @ Coffs Harbour, Northern New South Wales, Australia

Bon Voyage!

2 thoughts on “Tail-gating along the Coffs Coastline, Northern New South Wales, Australia

  1. Wow Amazing photographs, what a feeling that must of been, A calm beautiful big blue ocean,,, then Wales so Big and very close the sounds of them hehehe yeahhhh what a buzz truely indescribable. Must of been a breathtaking moment on your inflatable kayak, Up close and felling a we bit tiny l imagine,,,,,,,,,adrenaline rush plus a awesome experience…..

    Like

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