Blows and breaches galore ahead of ORRCA Census Day

Whale whisperer Leigh Mansfield spots a pod of at least 10 whales heading towards Tacking Point. Photo: Sue Stephenson

IF anyone knows where the whales are this season it will be veteran spotter and long-time rescue volunteer Leigh Mansfield.

Most days he can be found at Tacking Point with his binoculars trained southward towards Camden Head and his two way radio transmitting the locations of pods to Port Jet’s whale watching boat.

“You’ve got to look from the breakers out,” he told News Of The Area.

“These whales are coming up and they can be as close as 100 metres from shore.”

On the boat, photographer Jodie Low captures the mostly humpback whales as they blow and breach their way past North Haven, Bonny Hills, Lake Cathie and Lighthouse Beach.

Around 40 were spotted by 11am on the first day of this season’s cruises, raising hopes of a bumper ORRCA Census Day on 30 June.

“You go up to the headlands at Dunbogan and you’ll see them as easy as anything,” Mr Mansfield said.

“Around late June and July you’ll probably have them closer to the [North Haven] breakwalls.”

Angela Dawson and Nerida McLeod are volunteers for the Mid North Coast “Pod” of ORRCA, the Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia.

Ms Dawson said volunteers have undergone specialist training and are on standby to help any whales or other marine animals in distress on this section of coast.

“There have been a few recent calls about whales finding themselves in a bit of bother,” she said.

“But nothing serious.”

Ms Dawson will be at Tacking Point on Census Day to host volunteers taking part in the dawn to dusk count.

However, all members of the public are invited to find a safe spot on any headland, with Perpendicular Point the best vantage point in the Camden Haven.

To register for the count and to receive official recording materials, go to


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