Travel

First humpbacks sighted

THAR SHE BLOWS: The first sightings of migrating humpback whales off Queensland’s east coast.
THAR SHE BLOWS: The first sightings of migrating humpback whales off Queensland’s east coast.

NOW is when we have the first sightings of migrating humpback whales off Queensland’s east coast.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) is reminding vessel operators to be whale aware while on the water. They should take care, watch out for whales and know the correct approach distances.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s director of Ecosystem, Conservation and Sustainable Use, Mark Read, said it was important to abide by approach distances for both the safety of whales and onlookers.

Dr Read said whales can be social animals and may voluntarily approach boats or people in the water, but it was important not to approach them.

Legally, vessels must stay at least 100 metres away from whales in the Marine Park and 300 metres away in the Whitsunday Whale Protection Area. Jet skis must stay at least 300 metres away from whales throughout the Marine Park.

From May until September each year, migrating humpback whales can be seen in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Having left the colder southern oceans they undertake an annual migration to warmer northern waters, where they court, mate, give birth or rear their young.

“The best whale watching experience is when whales are given the space to exhibit normal behaviours without interference from people,” Dr Reid said.

“Whale watching regulations are in place to ensure whale watchers are kept safe and whales are not harassed or disturbed.

“We must not forget that these are large and powerful animals; an adult humpback is anything between 12 to 15 metres long and can weigh up to 40 tonnes. The regulations are there to make sure these majestic animals go about their usual activities safely.

“A whale that is disturbed is less likely to spend time at the surface; so whale watchers may not get the best from the experience.

“Disturbing a mother and its calf can cause the calf to stop feeding and move away from its mother which is a situation that must be avoided. Separating a mother and calf can also be dangerous, especially if the mother feels her calf is being threatened in any way.”

The following legal requirements when operating a vessel around whales are set out in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983: A vessel must not approach closer than 100 metres to a whale or 300 metres to a whale calf.

If your vessel is closer than 300 metres to a whale, it must be operated at a constant slow speed.

If you encounter a sick, injured, stranded or dead whale take as many details as possible and report it to 1300 130 372.

   Regulations are in place to ensure whale watchers are kept safe and whales are not harassed or disturbed




600 Gladstone, Rockhampton locals find jobs in a month

Photo Luka Kauzlaric / The Observer

FRESH signs Gladstone is starting to level out after dramatic fall.

7 Gladstone jobs up for grabs right now

There are two jobs up for grabs at Heron Island.

Ever wanted to live and work on an island?

Pay rise for Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher to $209K

Glenn Butcher says an NRL flag is more important

GLENN Butcher enjoys pay rise to $209,999, or $8049 a fortnight.

Latest deals and offers

Willy Wonka star, Gene Wilder dead at 83

A still of Gene Wilder in the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Social media has already lit up with tributes to the late actor.

Gladstone couple's spontaneous Gympie Muster wedding

Craig Oglesby and Brenda Strong celebrate their wedding at the Gympie Muster with punters in front of the Main Stage.

The Gympie Music Muster was the perfect place for a wedding.

Australian Survivor's Peter: I'm no quitter

Australian Survivor contestant Peter Fiegehen.

ILLNESS forces castaway's early exit from Samoa.

Diva's sister on soliciting charge

FILE - In this May 14, 2016 file photo, Mariah Carey attends the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, in New York. Carey will appear on the Oct. 5 episode of the Fox series, \"Empire,\" the network confirmed Monday at a TV critics bi-annual press tour. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Mariah Carey's sister has been arrested on charges of prostitution.

Tom Cruise private jets his gym kit around the world

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise charters private to take his gym kit around the world

Movie behind Depp and Heard split to be released

Soon you'll be able to see the movie that ended the marriage

Palm Lake Resort set to move in to Coast with 276 villas

Palm Lake Group has been given approval by Sunshine Coast Council to build a 276-villa over 50s resort and 120-bed aged care facility at the intersection of Caloundra Rd and Caloundra Mooloolaba Rd in Little Mountain.

New facility planned for Caloundra Rd

Warning for unit investors with price plummet prediction

The warning signs are flashing for one real estate sector in 2017 despite others performing the best they have in years and it's not going to be pretty.

One real estate sector looks set for a rocky 2017

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m