THE atmosphere was fantastic once again as residents and visitors to Port Stephens braved a cool but sunny day to create the human whale.
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This was the 8th year that the event has been held in Port Stephens and the 2nd year at Fingal Beach.
OCCI, and other marine education groups were present to share their knowledge and inspire people to do all that we can to protect our unique and beautiful environment.
The record was once again beaten with 1308 people participating in the event.
Frank Future of Imagine Cruises told News Of The Area, “It was absolutely fantastic, couldn’t have been a nicer day the wind had dropped right off and everyone turned out and the beach had recovered after the June storms and the low tide allowed us to have a beautiful event.
“There were lots of whales off Fingal Island which was great,” he said.
Mel Turner of Moonshadow – TQC told News of the Area, “We had 302 people up on last year.”
In 1995 Port Stephens entrepreneur and environmentalist launched the first whale watching in NSW and in 1996 they were lucky enough to spot Migaloo the white whale.
Numbers of whales journeying up the NSW coast have increased dramatically since the early days of whale watching in Port Stephens.
At Cape Solander in Kamay Botany Bay National Park volunteers counted an impressive 4,813 whales heading up the cost for warmer waters in 2017.
This is a record number of whales migrating since the count commenced in 1997.
It shows an increase from the 3033 counted in 2016.
Humpback whales dominated the count with only two southern right whales and 17 minke whales counted.
The volunteers count data is used to help estimate migrating whale populations.
Experts estimate around 30,000 humpback whales alone will migrate north along the NSW coastline annually.
Many hope that the species is truly back from the brink and will survive for our children’s children to enjoy.
By Marian SAMPSON