We’ve hit 3 weeks since my Sydney trip so I’m getting a wriggle on and finally posting about it!
The first day was reasonably uneventful (other than a dropped phone and partially cracked screen 🤦🏻♀️) so moving along…
Day 2 was my first day of whale watching in Sydney. I booked on the morning trip with Go Whale Watching, leaving from Darling Harbour. (I chose Go Whale Watching on recommendation from a few instagrammers.)
One of the most random – but awesome! – parts of the trip was running into Peter and Jodie from Blue Dolphin Marine Tours! They were on the same whale watching tour, so we had an excellent chat on the way out of the harbour and as we were looking for whales. (I am SO looking forward to my trip with them in August! But I digress…)
Getting out past the Sydney Heads is a LOT more bumpy than any boat ride I’ve had so far (with the possible exception of Tasmania), but once we were on the open water it was a lot easier to remain fairly steady on our feet.
And I’ve gotta say… the view from outside the heads and looking back at Sydney and the coastline is magnificent! You can totally understand why Cook sailed straight past the Heads. With the way the land is, you’d never guess that there’s a MASSIVE harbour behind all those cliffs.
Wow, where on earth is 2019 disappearing to? I swear it really is a year of ‘blink and you miss it’. After my last couple of posts (posted from Sydney) I got back home and promptly came down with the Head Cold From Hell. 😷 (Yes, it deserves capitalisation…) I basically quarantined myself at home so I didn’t infect any of my coworkers. What a great welcome back from leave! (Not.)
Anyway, I’m finally on the road to recovery and it hit me today… it’s just over 6 weeks until I’m headed to Hervey Bay for whale watching!! I was 😁 at the thought but also 😬 because guess who hadn’t booked a single freaking thing for her trip? 🤦🏻♀️ Yes, that would be this doofus.
Thankfully I have now started to get organised and booked my accommodation (through AirBNB) plus a couple of whale watch tours. I’ll be to be in Hervey Bay for 6 days/5 nights and with limited time I’m having to be choosy about what I can and can’t do. I really really REALLY want to do at least one whale swim though, so I’m being preferential to providers that provide that or who I know are really good tour operators.
Still making final decisions but it looks like I’ll be going with:
- Blue Dolphin Marine Tours (possibly twice! I’ve been out with Blue Dolphin before and it was a brilliant trip!)
- Hervey Bay Whale Watch
- Tasman Venture
- Pacific Whale Foundation
- aaand possibly also Hervey Bay Dive Centre.
And while all this is going on, I’m still trying to nail down my Canada itinerary for late September-mid October! 😱
I love travel but the planning really does my head in sometimes. 😅
I had originally planned to recount my Thursday outings on Friday however was thrown for a loop when, on Thursday night, I heard of the tragic and unexpected passing of a fellow Australian photographer, Dale Sharpe of DKPhotography.
Dale was an inspiration to many, including myself. Sadly, I never had the chance to meet him in person but I interacted with him several times on Instagram and Facebook and he only ever had nice things to say about my own photos.
Not only were his images out of this world incredible, but he had a joy and passion for his work and his life (his fiancé Karlie and gorgeous baby girl Mia) that was evident in the videos and instastories he posted. From everything I’ve seen and read, he was incredibly kind and giving to other photographers, encouraging, humble and his enthusiasm was infectious. Seeing the tributes flowing in has only cemented that he was indeed loved by many all around the world.
Dale’s passing has left a huge hole in the photography community. While I didn’t know Dale personally, his death has hit me hard. My heart is completely broken for Karlie and Mia and the rest of Dale’s family. I can only hope that the outpouring of love and support from so many who held Dale in such high esteem helps them during this incredibly tough time.
As Dale passed away while overseas (he was in the United States, chasing and photographing storms – one of his passions), his family needs to bring him home to be laid to rest on the Gold Coast. A GoFundMe has been set up to raise funds. If you can help, please do. (You can click the text link or click the screenshot to be taken direct to the campaign.)
Dale, thank you for being such an inspiration. You are missed more than you will ever know. I hope you’re forever capturing amazing skies, mate.
Hold your loved ones a little closer, everyone. And live your life to the fullest. ❤️
Hello from sunny (but chilly! 🥶) Sydney! I flew in this morning and am coming to the end of my first day. Wanted to share a couple of tips that made my day a whoooole lot easier.
Frequent flyer = YES
So my (early) morning started by heading straight to the Brisbane Virgin Australia Lounge for a (complimentary!) hot breakfast while I waited for my flight. (When my Velocity Frequent Flyer status was upgraded to Silver, the first thing I did was take advantage of the waived membership fee for the VA Lounge. Added to the fact that I could use my Velocity points to PAY for 1 years’ membership… essentially ‘free’ Lounge access for a year! Huzzah!) Score 1 for me.
TIP #1: Join a frequent flyer program. They’re usually free and you can get some great perks from them. I do most of my flying with Virgin Australia and the Velocity program has been excellent. I can definitely recommend it.
Once I landed in Sydney (where it was a decidedly nippy 9 degrees Celcius!) I took myself over to the Hertz desk to pick up my hire car.
I wanted to write up a few of my previous whale watch trips to share, the ones that really stick in my mind. One such trip was last year for my birthday.
I’d just the day before picked up a new camera lens and was looking forward to taking it out for a spin.
I headed down to Sea World Whale Watch on the Gold Coast for their morning tour and we headed out towards the Gold Coast Seaway at 10am.
The conditions were stunningly calm – flat as a tack, total glass out and barely a breath of wind. It made searching for ‘the blow’ a lot easier. (‘The blow’ looks like a puff of smoke above the water and occurs when the whales surface to breathe. The ‘smoke’ is actually their exhalation of air.)
We hadn’t been looking all that long when we spotted a blow not too far in the distance; it looked to be a single adult humpback. It was only as we got closer that we realised SHE had a calf with her!
And it was a NEWBORN! 😍
Taking into account the pale colour of the calf as well as how ‘rubbery’ the calf’s skin looked (and the dorsal fin was still ‘floppy’) we were guessing that the calf was, at most, about a week old but probably younger. So really quite new.
We turned off the engines and sat in the water a couple of hundred metres away to see what the mother would do – they tend to be quite protective of their calves, particularly when they’re so young as this one was. We never want to harass these animals – it’s their turf and all interaction is on their terms. To our surprise – and great delight! – the mother didn’t seem all that nervous. She started actively nudging her calf toward our boat.
When I was thinking about holidays for this year, I decided to do things a bit differently. I LOVE taking long holidays but they’re not always practical (getting leave approved, expense, etc). So this year I wanted to see more of Australia – closer to home, shorter trips.
The decision I made was to do a lot of long weekends/short breaks, specifically to places I hadn’t been before or haven’t spent much time at.
So far, I’ve:
- spent 6 days in Noosa (and it was beyond amazing 😍)
- a long weekend (4 days) in Darwin in early March
- I’ve just returned from a long weekend (2 nights) in Hobart.
I have loved ALL of my trips and at some point I will come back and blog about them.
Still on the list for this year I have:
- 5 days in Sydney in June
- 6 days in Hervey Bay in August
- 15 days in Canada (!!!) in October
- 5 days in Perth in October
The Canada trip was actually a very last minute decision. I hadn’t been planning to go anywhere overseas this year! But then the Rock the Rink tour was announced and I couldn’t NOT go! So first trip to Canada – YEW! 🇨🇦 I’ll spend most of my time on the west coast/BC area, though I’m also hoping to get over to Toronto and possibly the Banff/Jasper area as well.
The best bit I’m REALLY excited about with these trips is I’ll be going whale watching in ALL of those locations!! 😁 I deliberately moved my trip to Canada earlier so that I could visit during their whale watching season.
Stay tuned! No doubt I’ll be posting updates in the coming days/weeks. In the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions for things to do/places to stay/spots to visit for Canada or Perth, please feel free to share in the comments – I’d appreciate any help!
Some changes were made to how I wanted this website to work. I didn’t want it to be just a photography shop/portfolio… I miss having somewhere to post my stories. Travel, whale watching… and whatever else happens to pop into my head.
So. A decision was made to scrap the old stuff and start with a clean slate.
Now I just have to figure out how to work this layout properly… 😬