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.
‘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.