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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

Whale watching off to glorious start

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Cape Byron Lighthouse volunteer Denise Prosser volunteer with Bay visitor Shari Cohen and the Discovery program coordinator Lee Middleton enjoyed Whale Day at the Cape. Photo Eve Jeffery.
Cape Byron Lighthouse volunteer Denise Prosser, Byron Bay visitor Shari Cohen (dressed as a whale) and Discovery program coordinator Lee Middleton enjoying Whale Day at the Cape. Photo Eve Jeffery.

Eve Jeffery

With the official start of the whale watching season at Cape Byron Lighthouse on June 1, the annual Whale Day was held in the lighthouse precinct with glorious weather and whales a-splashing. Visitors to the Cape enjoyed educational activities presented by NPWS staff and Friends of Cape Byron volunteers and, of course, our ocean-travelling guests.

Lee Middleton, the Discovery program coordinator for the local National Parks office, said that there were great activities for everyone, including counting whales. ‘The whales pass us every year and we like to celebrate that.

From New Jersey via Melbourne, Cape Byron visitor Shari Cohen got a double treat when she tried on the 'Bowe' the Baby Humpback costume and saw whales for the very first time. Photo Eve Jeffery.
From New Jersey via Melbourne, Cape Byron visitor Shari got a double treat when she tried on the ‘Bowe’ the Baby Humpback costume and saw whales for the very first time. Photo Eve Jeffery.

‘I get really excited about the whale count. We’re focusing on Humpbacks but we count any other whale species we might see. Counting the whales is designed to get some science involved in the day. We record the information and collate it with other areas throughout the whale season to get an idea of numbers.’

Lee says that whale numbers are increasing which is a cause for celebration and hopes are high for growth in the seas. ‘Last year there were about 17,000 whales passing by the east coast; hopefully this year we will see the numbers increase. The pattern has been about a ten per cent increase each year.’

One of the highlights of this year’s day was the arrival of the newest whale on the rock, ‘Bowe’, a wearable baby Humpback costume that children, and very petite adults, can try on.

For more information about the whale migration and meeting Bowe, follow the links at www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au.

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  1. Wow ! It’s so nice to see Byron in this new light of appreciation of the natural environment.
    Of course, as a child growing up in the Northern Rivers, I was appalled by the fact that the only appreciation of whales shown In Byron Bay, was in terms of the oil and animal food they provided.
    If it is possible to overcome this shameful history here, perhaps there is hope for the rest of the destructive industries on the Northern Rivers to do a complete reversal and learn to protect our natural assets.

  2. Hi,
    Can’t believe we are just about to start another glorious Whale Watching Season on the east coast of Australia! We can’t wait!
    We are searching for a Humpback costume for our company on internet with ZERO success (so hard, why no one wears a whale costume? lol) and came across BOWE! What a lovely humpback whale!!! I’ve tried to find further info on the provided link and on google but could not find any!
    We are very keen to have more “Bowes”around to increase Humpbacks and Nature awareness.
    Would you mind or is there anyone there who can help us?
    Please give us a call on 5572 7755 or send me an email to [email protected]
    Thank you so much!
    Whale Blessings!


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