The Blue Dolphin & the Happy Humpback

August 15, 2011

Here’s a story about a curious whale, a catamaran full of whale lovers and glorious day on the Great Sandy Strait.

Picture a diamond day; a mild 21 degree zephyr blowing across a glassy bay just two miles off the green silhouette of Fraser Island.

The passengers and crew on the purpose-built catamaran, The Blue Dolphin, have lucked into an extraordinary encounter with a very social female Humpback whale.

Most whale sightings are counted in seconds and minutes. They involve spy hops (when a whale’s head juts out of the water); blows (the whale is breathing through its blowhole, resulting in a water spray); pec slaps (the whale slaps its fin on the surface of the water); tail slaps and the always-exciting breach (the whale propels out of the water).

Most whale watchers are delighted with just a few minutes in the magnificent mammals’ company.

But today, the whale is a happy to play.

For more than three hours she swims up to touch people’s feet, bounces a hydrophone off her back, eye-balls each passenger, blows fine mists of water and idles about the boat.

In the near distance a male Humpback serenades her but doesn’t approach.

The Blue Dolphin’s owner Peter Lynch, a highly experienced whale and dolphin trainer, says it was one of the most extraordinary encounters he has ever heard of.

“It is certainly the type of thing everyone on board will be talking about for the rest of their lives,” he says.

“A truly memorable day – we were just sitting on the boat in the sun, eating lunch, having a drink …and here is this whale just loving you.

“I heard later people thought it was quite a life changing event.”

Peter designed The Blue Dolphin especially to capitalize on a chance encounter like the day of the Happy Humpback.

The 12m luxury catamaran was built for speed (so there is more time with the whales) and comfort for langorous days on the water with whales and their local dolphin entourage.

A platform at the back of the boat is lowered into the water and reef scopes are used to view whales at close range. The Humpbacks’ complex arias, some lasting for hours, can be heard with the hydro-scopes.

Peter’s passengers don’t hold back when explaining the Blue Dolphin’s tours. Here is Kristen Willis’ take on a day out on the Great Sandy Strait with Peter and his crew:

Insanely amazing, awesome hospitality! If the whales were any closer they'd be on the boat with us! Wouldn't that be a sight? Time stood still as the whales drew nearer and nearer to the catamaran... and when they literally popped their heads up against the boat... WOW.”

Locations visited

Hervey Bay


Whales, Dolphins & Seals 1 species
Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) 1



Written by

Jacqueline McArthur

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