Breach is not usually a positive word. Breaching a contract can get someone sued. And a breach birth is hazardous for both mom and baby. But when whales breach the water, that’s great. And on my whale watching trip in Sydney, the day after my night at the opera, the young (at least our guides thought he was young) male was showing off enough to breach not once but twice! And while he wasn’t within splashing distance, he was within easy viewing reach and the view was spectacular from where I was watching. Aboard a boat off Sydney’s coastline, watching for the humpbacks who migrate past these waters around this time of the year. Another great present during what a friend Chris (yoga teacher in Eau Claire) called the birth-week.

Of course I didn’t get any photos of the breach. As I have mentioned before, one of the disadvantages of wielding a camera for me is the sacrifice of the full experience. Besides the jumps and sightings were not that predictable. A moment of fumbling for the camera and the the moment would be lost. So I just leaned over the deck of the boat and watched avidly as our show-off teased us a few times by poking his nose out of the water – until then both he and the pod of females he appeared to to be following had graced with sights of their humps (backs I mean) and a few flippers – and then came up way out of the water. It was a great treat. Especially since the whole trip was unexpected to begin with.

On a beautifully sunny July day in Sydney, I’d set out to the harbour from Turramurra intending to go on some sort of ferry ride or cruise to take advantage of the weather and my location. To my delight on alighting at Circular Quay (pronounced Key by the Aussies) there were whale-watching rides advertised. And the guy said there was a 100% chance that we’d see these animals. So sure he was, that the company offered a comeback chance if there were no sightings in July. Yes, I’d heard that before and even gotten an un-availed of coupon in Hawaii some years ago. But ever the optimist, I signed on and was delivered what was promised.

Rules in Oz mandate that one is not allowed to go closer than 100 m within any sighted whales, unless of course they come to us. As soon as we sighted the first blows (sprays of water the whales spout from the tops of their heads as they breathe just before surfacing) the captain cut the motor of the boat and we settled in for the show. There was obviously a pod of 2-3 whales and we followed them for a long while that afternoon as they left us their trail of blows to follow. The trick is to look a little ahead of the blows for the actual whales and to never keep looking at the same spot because these creatures are not only huge they also move fast! I was able to get some shots of them as they swam by. Here’s what I was able to snap –  including a passing gull – and while it’s not much, it’s an adequate reminder of a lovely afternoon. Thank you Sydney – you were good to me

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