Subject: Hervey Bay, Australia
Hello fellow travelers, This is a short report on our annual trip to Hervey Bay in September: whale watching season. This is the Southern Hemisphere herd of Humpback whales. For years we enjoyed watching the Northern Hemisphere herds in Hawaii and Mexico. This whale viewing trip was the best ever. The first day, we saw three separate pods, and lots of smaller groups of males jostling for breeding rights. The first pod members would put their whole head out of the water, spin, as if looking at everyone on the boat. This is called the spy hop........that is when the whale lifts its head completely out of the water, looks around, and then goes under again. Then with the second pod, we saw a calf basically porpoiseing (sp?): it would leap straight out of the water and dive back in on its belly. The mother did a big breach, landing as is normal on her back. It was as if she were trying to teach her calf how to do it correctly. At one time, the little one did a complete spiral, like he just went all the way around by mistake! As we were leaving the last pod, they were doing the pectoral slap, and sticking both pectoral fins out of the water as they warm their bellies. That makes you think they are waving goodbye. The next time we went out, we saw a mom feeding her calf. She stayed very still, while the calf found the slit (they have no teats). We are always amazed at how huge the adult whales are. You can see her tail (flute) and left pectoral fin under the water. Ah, they are absolutely grand. Love seeing the whales. Then we took a Fraser Island trip that was interesting. It is a World Heritage site and is the world's largest purely sand island. I am glad we did not stay on the island, as our buffet supper was about the only thing to do for the evening. The roads, of course, are just sandy paths. There was a beautiful, if small, rain forest we drove through. The trees or bush is dense except for around the lakes. Do you believe it? We took an airplane trip over the island for an overview. The plane took off and landed on the beach. Fraser Island is nine times larger than the country of Malta. Imagine, all that beautiful white sand, on the beach or around the lakes. It produces enough fresh water for a city the size of Sydney which, however, they let run into the ocean. We walked through a rain forest and saw a King fern, stag horns that were staggering in size, and wild orchids growing on the trees were in bloom. Liked the plane ride best for seeing Fraser Island. It was a little single prop job but did the trick otherwise we would not have been able to see the magnificent clear lakes on the island. The moonlight cruise to Kingfisher Resort for a seafood buffet was a,why did we sign up for this trip? But, live and learn: 4 hours on the island, with only a dinner to fill the time. All in all, it was a great holiday. The one bedroom condo fronted on the ocean.

Nice to go, and great to be home again. Ah, the whales....................

Happy traveling, Marghe and Marty.