MIGALOO WATCH: White whale about to hit Sunshine Coast

AUSTRALIA'S most famous whale is about to make a visit to the Sunshine Coast.

Whale One skipper Allan "Shorty" Short said he hoped to see Migaloo as soon as tomorrow, but with the last sightings at the Gold Coast yesterday it's not yet clear when exactly the white whale will grace our waters.

"Just from previous patterns of behaviour and from what they've reported, they had him at the Gold Coast yesterday, so that would put him up well and truly with us tomorrow afternoon, we're hoping," Mr Short said.

"We're only going off calculations... there's so many variables with it.

"Thursday afternoon, Friday, Saturday are the high chances for us to be able to see him."

Mr Short said Migaloo tends to travel further out to sea, and is seen the most in areas where the coastline juts out.

"On Thursday we're probably going to head about 10 miles off (the coast), no matter what sort of whales we've got in close," Mr Short said.

He expected a boost in bookings for whale watching charters over the coming days.

"To get that added excitement and that hype on the boat, the anticipation of what we're going to see, that's pretty exciting," he said.

Mr Short first saw Migaloo when he worked on a whale watching boat in Hervey Bay in October 1998.

"We had him to ourselves for three hours beside the boat, I think he was only a 7-year-old then, but we worked out he was a male because he was singing," he said.

"Sea World came out five years later and said 'oh look, he's a boy'."

Now Migaloo is like a "long-lost friend" Mr Short is eager to see again.

"It takes me right back to '98 when we had him for that period of time," Mr Short said.

He said unique animals like Migaloo wouldn't usually survive, just because they were different.

"Sometimes their own kind will actually take them out because they're different," Mr Short said.

"But he's a strong bugger, he survived... and he's always surrounded by females."

Now Migaloo has a 10-year-old son who is nearly pure white, with some dark blemishes, but whale families don't travel together once the one-year-old calf parts ways with its mother.

 

Migaloo is predicted to cruise into Sunshine Coast waters in the coming days.
Migaloo is predicted to cruise into Sunshine Coast waters in the coming days. Contributed

Mr Short urged boat drivers to heed the special buffer zones for Migaloo, which are enforceable by law, and let the whale approach if he chooses.

"You just shut down the motors and he can come right up to us," Mr Short said.

Boats are prohibited from approaching white whales closer than 500m, while aircraft, including drones, cannot get closer than 610m.

Mr Short said after he saw Migaloo in Hervey Bay, another 17 boats rushed to see the white whale and could have discouraged him from every returning to the bay.

"He got fairly well swamped, and he never came back," Mr Short said.

"Come out and see him, but just do the right thing by him."

He said boaties had to be more aware of rules surrounding all whale encounters.

"Unfortunately I watch so many little boats nearly drive over the top of a calf because they don't have any idea," Mr Short said.

"You're actually watching mum get stressed; you can see her behaviour change and she's really freaking out.

"If there's a newborn calf, just be a bit more gracious with them, give them a bit more space."



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