Soon enough, whales should start appearing along our coastline. After spending summer in the Southern Ocean, they are heading north for the winter. Species to look out for include humpbacks, southern rights and minkes, with sightings usually coming from Portland right around the coast.
This Victorian whale season, DRI (in partnership with Wildlife Coast Cruises) will again be co-ordinating the Two Bays Whale Project. Now into its fourth season, the project is calling on supporters and keen spotters to help record whale movements through our region. The project focuses on the two bays of Port Phillip and Western Port.
Become a Citizen Scientist and contribute to this growing project! All you need to do is report your whale sightings to the Two Bays Whale Project via the DRI website here.
The best land-based locations to see whales in the Two Bays region are Barwon Bluff, Port Phillip Heads, Cape Schanck, The Nobbies, Pyramid Rock and Cape Woolamai on Phillip Island, and the Bass Coast.
There is no need for exact co-ordinates or distances – “two whales off Cowes, travelling towards The Nobbies” is valuable information to report and be recorded. Also, images can be uploaded for use in the database.
Using the sightings and images collected so far, the Two Bays team has created a humpback whale fluke identification catalogue now totalling 50 individual whales! This would not have been possible without the contributions from our wonderful citizen scientists. Read more about it here.
The catalogue is a first for Victoria and contributes valuable information to the Australia-wide understanding of humpback whales and their continued recovery from commercial whaling. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the project and we look forward to your on-going support in the 2018 Two Bays whale season.
(Be sure to keep an eye on the DRI website and facebook page for details of the family-friendly ‘Island Whale Festival’ to be held in the school holidays on Phillip Island on July 6-8).
Remember the approach distances as well; they are there for your protection, as well as the whales.