One of our team members Eliza managed to experience a whale festival last month in Australia! Here’s what she took away:
Have you ever seen a whale before? Last month, I was lucky enough to see 4 whales in one day, a very exhilarating experience! Something about seeing these creatures in the flesh, really reinforced my appreciation for them and was a great reminder of how important it is to do our bit in protecting them. On a visit to Phillip Island (an island off Melbourne's coast, in Australia) I found myself surrounded by other whale enthused people, all there for the annual festival.
As it turns out, every year around May - August, New Zealand and Australia get an influx of whales in our waters, as they migrate past us to warmer tropical waters during the winter months. The best place to see them pass through New Zealand at this time of year, is the Kaikoura coastline in the South Island, as they may their way to Australia and Tonga for mating season.
The Humpback whale, Southern Right whale and Orca are the most commonly seen during this migration. I was fortunate enough to spot Humpback whales on my visit! Their large flippers (which can be up to one-third of their body size) and characteristic hump on their back are what make the Humpbacks one of the most recognisable whales to distinguish. During a scout of Phillip Island’s coast, I stumbled across a small beach cove where a mother Humpback and her calf were residing, it was an absolute treat to witness!
(Not my picture! - Tomas Kotouc)
This was shortly followed by an extended sighting of two massive, adult Humpback whales whilst on a whale cruise. Within 10 minutes of leaving shore, our boat came across these whales as they navigated past the Island. We followed them for about an hour, watching as they went under water, coming up every couple of minutes to breath. Turns out this pattern of moving creates a glassy, smooth circle on the ocean’s otherwise restless surface, where the whale pops out to breath. This is a consequence of their powerful motion, creating a vortex. These are called ‘whale footprints’ and [top tip] are a great way to track whales! It was very memorising to watch, even in the bitter cold!
In celebration of Honeywrap’s recent release of our Moana wrap, I was on a mission to get a cool picture of our Moana wrap with the whales in the background.
100% of the profits from our Moana wrap over Plastic-Free July, got donated to Project Jonah - a NZ organisation who dedicate their time to protect our whales and other marine life.
However it turns out that it’s actually really difficult to get a picture of both a Honeywrap and a whale. Things like timing, framing, camera focus and the freezing cold turned out to be more significant than I had anticipated. So here is my sad attempt at a Honeywrap + whale picture. To be fair, it was hard to guess when and where the whale was going to pop up!
All in all, fantastic experience. If you are ever in Kaikoura or near Phillip Island during the whale migration time, I strongly recommend getting out there and trying to spot a whale! There are many factors currently threatening our marine life and we owe it to these beautiful creatures to make an effort to help them out. One way you can do this is by avoiding single-use plastics. Or, kill two birds with one stone and grab yourself a Moana Honeywrap - saving both plastic-use and supporting Project Jonah at the same time! :)
P.S. Here is a better attempt at a picture of some marine life + a Moana Honeywrap, thanks to Project Jonah! They snapped this cool picture with dolphins in the background!