Whale Spotting with Whalesongs Noosa

10 mins read
Whale Breaching with WhaleSongs Noosa
Whale Breaching with WhaleSongs Noosa

With the whale spotting season nearly upon us, where thousands of humpback whales migrate to warmer waters. We thought it would be timely to investigate what Noosa has to offer when it comes to whale watching charters. We found a company with a soul and engaged with Albie and Peppie, the founders of Whalesongs Noosa, to gather insights.

The Inspiration Behind Whalesongs Noosa

Inspired by a lifelong passion for the ocean and its inhabitants. As competitive surfers who have both won Australian titles in masters surfing, Albie and Peppie’s love for the ocean runs deep. Years of sailing, including voyages from Noosa to Indonesia, further solidified their connection to the sea.

Their fascination with the underwater world began in the mid-90s with spinner dolphins in Hawaii. A transformative book, “The Dolphin Connection” by Joan Ocean, ignited a journey that led to numerous charters and seminars in Hawaii. Eventually, they decided to establish their business locally in Noosa, their home.

The Boat – Where the Magic Happens

They have been running their boat, “Whalesongs Noosa”, for a year. The boat is made of aluminium and can be used in both the ocean and rivers. It has a shallow draft of 450cm, making it easy to navigate the Noosa River Mouth and reach beaches. The boat is comfortable and safe and has built-in flotation to prevent sinking. It also has modern navigation and safety equipment, refrigeration, a toilet, and shaded areas for convenience. There is plenty of space for safe and enjoyable viewing.

The Whalesongs Noosa Boat
The Whalesongs Noosa Boat

The Whale Experience: Beyond Whale Spotting

A typical “Whale Experience” with Whalesongs Noosa is more than just whale watching. The journey begins with a welcome and safety chat before departing from the Big Pelican boat hire on Gympie Terrace, next to the Noosa River. After crossing the Noosa bar, there is a moment to honour the ocean and the Kabi Kabi people, custodians of the land and sea for thousands of years.

As the boat ventures across Laguna Bay, guests search for whale blows, breaches, or mother and calf pairs. The crew shares insights into the whales’ journey, their intelligence, communication skills, strong family structures, and remarkable adaptation to ocean life. A hydrophone is deployed to listen for whale or dolphin songs, often heard before they are seen. Guests are encouraged to record these songs to share with family and friends.

Collaborating with two scientists, Whalesongs Noosa collects data on whale behavior, numbers, and environmental conditions during each trip. This data is sent to Sunshine Coast and Griffith Universities to support further studies and student research. The crew also discusses the dangers whales face and what threatens their existence today. Observations of the whales are conducted quietly and respectfully, allowing guests to photograph and learn about these magnificent mammals.

The experience concludes with a moment of gratitude for the ocean and interesting facts about its importance for well-being. Guests leave with a greater awareness and understanding of the oceans and their inhabitants.

The Dolphin Experience: Intimate and Educational

The “Dolphin Experience” offers an in-depth look at local dolphins and their interactions with whales and each other. Visitors can listen to live dolphin communications through the hydrophone and record these sounds to share. Hearing dolphins communicate live in the ocean is a unique experience.

Detailed data on dolphin location, behavior, and environmental conditions are recorded and shared with guests to deepen their understanding. The boat’s design allows passengers to move around safely for optimal viewing. The excitement of seeing dolphins and whales for the first time never fades, even after many years. The boat features a full shade roof to protect passengers from the sun and rain.

Mum and Baby Dolphin – Noosa

All ages are welcome on these tours to ensure no one misses out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Extra time is spent with a pod to allow for full interaction and observation.

Surfing and Fishing Charters: Adventure on the Water

During the warmer months, Whalesongs Noosa offers surfing charters to unique locations like Mudjimba Island, ideal for experienced surfers. These trips often include snorkeling with turtles. For those seeking relaxation, the fishing charters provide a serene experience, targeting local fish species in small, personal groups.

Collaboration with Humpbacks and High-Rises

Whalesongs Noosa collaborates with Humpbacks and High-Rises, the largest whale research program in Southeast Queensland, established by Olaf Meinecke at Griffith University. Volunteer researchers from HHR join tours whenever possible, helping to record data and share their knowledge with guests. This collaboration enhances the overall experience and contributes to a deeper understanding of these magnificent mammals.

A humpback whales tail
Whale Spotting in Noosa

Commitment to Safety

Safety is a top priority at Whalesongs Noosa. Trips are only offered when weather and ocean conditions are safe. Each trip starts with a safety briefing, and guests are required to wear life jackets when crossing the bar. The boat is certified unsinkable by a naval surveyor, and Captain Albie is a qualified first aid responder. A full first aid kit is always on board.

Hydrophone: Listening to the Ocean

The onboard hydrophone is a key feature of the tours. It captures sounds from up to 3 km away, allowing guests to hear the extraordinary songs of whales and dolphins. These sounds range from deep elephant-like tones to high-pitched frequencies. Humans can only hear part of the whales’ songs, while dolphins produce a series of clicks, squeaks, and whistles, sometimes even squeals of delight.

Dolphin up Close Encounters
Dolphin up Close Encounters

A Personal and Transformative Experience

What sets Whalesongs Noosa apart is the personal and transformative nature of their tours. With years of knowledge and experience, and a lifelong passion for the ocean, Albie and Peppie guarantee that guests will go home feeling different. They are the only husband and wife team working together in the ocean, offering a very personal experience with a maximum of 10 passengers on the boat.

Their extensive surfing and sailing experience, both locally and internationally, has given them a unique connection and understanding of the ocean. They have been fortunate to meet and learn from extraordinary people working with whales and dolphins in the wild, along with leading animal communication experts and scientists. They have held seminars and charters in Hawaii and Australia, sharing their knowledge and joy of the ocean.

Humpback whale migrating up the east coast of Australia

Memorable Encounters

A Joyous Encounter

A group of Spanish nurses had an unforgettable experience spotting whales for the first time. Despite a rough day and no luck at first, they were thrilled when they finally saw a whale breaching. Their excitement turned into singing and dancing, making it a joyous and memorable experience. It was a fitting end to an incredible whale-watching season.

The Eye-to-Eye Encounter

A large adult whale approached the boat near Noosa Heads, making eye contact with the passengers and blowing rainbows with its breath. The emotional interaction left a lasting impression on everyone on board.

Our Pick – Make Some Memories with Whalesongs Noosa

Whalesongs Noosa offers more than just a whale spotting tour; it provides an immersive and educational journey into the heart of the ocean. Albie and Peppie’s dedication to marine life and conservation ensures that every guest leaves with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the ocean and its inhabitants.