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Typical Southern Humpback Surface Behaviours

Not drowning, waving. The Hervey Bay Humpbacks put on quite a show near Fraser Island Not drowning, waving. The Hervey Bay Humpbacks put on quite a show near Fraser Island © Kingfisher Bay Resort

HERVEY BAY: The Humpback is the most active of all the great whales and puts on a great show for the gathered flotillas in the protected waters between the Hervey Bay mainland and World Heritage-listed Fraser Island.

Here's a snapshot of their typical surface behaviours:

Spy hop – occurs when the whale rises vertically in the water with their eyes just out of the water. The whale maintains this position for a while, before slipping beneath the surface,

Blow – A distinctive vapour cloud visible above the surface, caused by the Humpback exhaling through its two blow holes.

Head Lunge – The whale's knobbly head breaks the surface and the mammal falls forward into the water.

Foot print - When a whale dives, the up-thrust of its tail drives water toward the surface. On the surface this can be seen as a round, calm area of flat water, known as a whale's footprint.

Pectoral slap
– The humpback has a distinctive body shape, with unusually long pectoral fins. During the pectoral slap, the whale rolls onto its side and slaps its fin against the side of the water.

– This happens when a whale propels two-thirds of its stocky body out of the water – then falls back with an almighty splash. Often times the whale can clear two-thirds of its considerable body out of the water.

Peduncle slap
– This is a forceful move where the peduncle (area from the dorsal fin to the tail) and flukes are thrown out of the water and slapped back down.

Tail Slap – Occurs when the body of the whale is submerged and the tail slaps against the surface.

Fluke Up – If the flukes are high above the surface this usually signifies a deep dive.

Round Arch – This happens when the whale rises to the surface and arches its back - the dorsal fine and humpback are clearly visible.

A Whale of a Deal!
Half-day trips depart daily from Kingfisher Bay Resort from 8am during the season (August 1 until 31 October). Tickets are priced at $110 for adults and $70 for kids aged 4-14. Each ticket sold includes a levy which assists local marine park management, education, ranger patrols, whale monitoring and research.

Longer stay packages start from just $379 per person and include two nights at Kingfisher Bay on Fraser's western side with a BONUS third night free, hot buffet breakfast daily, return passenger ferry transfers ex River Heads and a half-day whale watch cruise with Captain Brian. For more information visit or 1800 072 55.

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Additional Info

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