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Magnificent Masses

AUSTRALIA | Monday, 1 April 2013 | Views [295]

I was sitting alone on a sand dune, overlooking the northern bay of the third largest sand island in the world. No one would disturb me there, 98% of the island was national park and I had wandered off the only walking track on the northern half of the island. I was enjoying the quiet sunshine and soaking up the solitude with gratitude. I buried my feet deep in the sand so my toes could wiggle in the cooler grains below. The beauty engulfed me as I admired the peaceful silence. The soundtrack of bird calls was abruptly interrupted by what sounded like the boom of a firework. My eyes were drawn to the direction of the sound, but all that lay before me was blue ocean, expanding to the horizon. Then I saw one, a huge dark mass. It popped up out of the gently rolling water and lingered for a full second before it crashed back into the abyss sending a huge white splash skyward.  One, two, three, four seconds later I heard the deep boom of the impact, like someone slamming a car door in the distance.

Humpback whales are magnificent. If I recall correctly, the man on the ferry said about 13,000 of them pass by Moreton Island each year in their seasonal migration. Currently, they’re moving south for summer. They winter near the Great Barrier Reef where they raise their calves in the warmer waters.  To the admirer’s advantage, they migrate in pods so there is always more than one gentile giant to watch at a time. Tonight a playful pod slowly passed by the bay jumping and rolling along the way. At times, it seemed as though they were leaping from the water in unison - synchronized splashing.

Tags: moreton island, solitude, whales


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