The Gold Coast sees a vast jump in whale sightings amid a booming humpback whale population

Beautiful conditions out on the ocean made for a wonderful week of whale watching on the Gold Coast.

Last week Sea World Cruises and Sea World Foundation conducted an annual Blessing of the Fleet ceremony with representatives from the Yugambeh Language group.

In a modern interpretation of an ancient seafaring tradition, an indigenous smoking ceremony was held to ensure a safe and bountiful season for whale watchers, crew and the whales themselves.

The ceremony recognises the unbroken custodianship of the Yugambeh Language group with the land and seas on which Sea World Cruises operate.

Out on the humpback highway, there was a significant increase in whale action. Sea World Cruises saw a staggering 450% increase in whale sightings over the fortnight, with 98 humpbacks noted in the last week!

These plentiful sightings can be attributed to a boom in humpback whale population numbers over the last couple of years. The experts have crunched the numbers, and this year, we expect 40,000 individual whales to frequent our shores.

By the time a ban on commercial whaling went into effect, just 300 humpback whales were left on the east coast. While Australia conducted domestic whaling, the loss was primarily due to pressure from the Soviet Union, who killed some 180,000 whales in one of the world’s fastest decimations of an animal population.

However, following the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling in 1946, the east coast population began to recover at a rate of about 10 per cent per annum.

Today our humpbacks are close to returning to their pre-whaling numbers and are one of the most successful conservation stories in the world.

So much so that in February of this year, the Australian Government removed them from the threatened species list.

This coming week we are keeping an eye out for large adults and, hopefully, the first calves of the season!

Sea World Cruises offer the #1 Whale Watching Experiences on the Gold Coast, with tours departing seven days a week. For more information, visit seaworldcruises.com.au.