The Whales Are Here or There She Blows!
by Dawn Simpson
Whale Watching from Toragy Point
Dawn's Day Out for September.
Today we are heading off on a very inexpensive Whale watching tour, terminating at Toragy Point on the South Moruya Headland.
Here is the perfect location to do a spot of whale watching but on the way south, why not call in at the following great whale watching spots and check the horizon:
Using our FREE Cartoscope map from the Batemans Bay Tourism Office;
Observation Point off Beach Road; Map 3 Co-ordinates D 6
Pleasurelea Park on Beach Road, almost opposite Valley Road; Map 3 Co-ordinates D 8
Tomakin Lookout; Map 4 Co-ordinates C 6
Travel on from here to Moruya, through the township and turn left at the South Heads turnoff. Follow this road to the heads and turn left at the South Head Store, into Coronation Drive which follows a very steep hill taking you into the Eurobodalla National Park. Follow the signs of the headland circle road to Toragy Point where, just as a bonus, wild freesias are flowering in abundance at the moment.
Toragy Point is the extreme headland with 180-degree views up and down the coast. Map 1 D 3
The perfect spot for our whale watching adventure.
Here is a place of beauty, peace and tranquillity. There is a large picnic table, conveniently located to set up our picnic and thermos. We are surrounded by the remains of a very old cemetery and perhaps that is why that feeling of peace pervades. There are 20 recorded burials here including local pioneer, John Loutitt and Captain John Ross the first Pilot Station Master.
This headland was a popular lookout for the local Koori people, where they would watch for fish and light headland fires to signal other Koori tribes in the area.
Now let s get serious about spotting those whales!
In days gone by Southern Right Whales were the right whales to hunt. They were the easiest to catch in southern waters. They travelled slowly, conveniently floated after being harpooned and yielded enormous amounts of precious whale oil. They were hunted almost to extinction and even today it is thought only 300 to 400 visit the eastern coast on their migration voyages. Isn t it wonderful to know though, that their numbers are increasing?
From June to November Southern Right Whales travel up and down the eastern coast. In early winter the whales travel north to calve but usually stay far out to sea. NOW, is our best opportunity to view them. As they make their return journey, females and their calves keep close to the coastline for protection and are known to dawdle in the protected bays of the Eurobodalla.
Humpbacks are well known for their playful aerobatics.
Michael, from the South Head Store at Moruya Heads has watched them play at the mouth of the Moruya River and frolic off the main beach at Moruya. Bring your binoculars and watch for waving pectoral fins, or the spray or blow as the whales surface.
Usually the first sign will be the blow but you may be lucky enough to see a whale breach as it throws itself completely out of the water. Watch also for tails flapping the water. Don t be dismayed if the whale you spot disappears. Whales can remain beneath the surface for a good ten minutes before resurfacing, so be patient!
Broulee Island, which can be seen looking north, was once a haven for whaling boats and is now a Nature Reserve. How times have changed.
If you are a Moruya resident, you could do this trip in reverse or just drive up the highway and then follow the scenic route as described here.
Don t forget to slip, slop and slap, wear sensible shoes and have fun!
If you haven't time to prepare a picnic or morning tea, Michael has plenty of hot food available at the Moruya Heads Store, the usual fish and chips, pies, and steak sandwiches plus lays claim to the best burger in Australia but today we bought with us a picnic of :
Line cups of a standard muffin tray with prosciutto.
Mash 750gms light ricotta with an egg and pepper and salt to taste.
Cut grape tomatoes in half and push into the tops of ricotta. Alternate this with two olives instead if you like, they will look like whales in a sunlit sea!
Top with ½ teaspoon of basil pesto.
Bake at 200 decrees C for 25 minutes until firm.
Pack in the picnic basket with a bunch of juicy grapes…..oh and don't forget the thermos!