Humpbacks & High-rises 2021
We are delighted to have colloboarted with Humpbacks & Highrises and are looking forward to again in 2022. Below is a report of their 2021 season by Karlien Paas.
Now the whale season is over, and we are in our off-season, it is time to reflect more on the past whale season and focus on everything we have achieved this year. In 2021 we had a total of 127 members: 94 on the Gold Coast and 33 in the Sunshine Coast. And we are proud to say that most of these members were actively volunteering during the season! Our season ran from 1 June to 30 October during which time our dedicated volunteers conducted a total of 116 Boat Based Surveys (BBS, in Sunshine Coast and in Gold Coast), 54 Land Based Surveys (LBS, in Gold Coast), and we ran 3 weekend research expeditions. During our boat-based surveys and research expeditions we surveyed a total of 282 pods with 734 humpback whales and recorded their behaviours, swim speed, direction and took 8 000 photographs. They also spotted 408 dolphins (mainly common and bottlenose), 10 hammerhead sharks, and 14 turtles (4 loggerhead, 4 green, 6 unknown). Our LBS volunteers on the Gold Coast surveyed 285 pods of whales which were a total of 523 humpback whales from Tumgum lookout at Burleigh Hill. While running whale surveys, the team also enjoyed the interactions with the public and the opportunities to educate the public on whales and whale behaviours! And, they were able to enjoy the local wildlife in Burleigh Heads National Park. Not only did our volunteers collect data, we also have other people who support us and have contributed substantially by recording behavioural data of their whale sightings this year: our friends from Wild Byron (142 submissions), Tangalooma Whale Watch (15 submissions), Oceanrider (12 submissions), Mermaid Spirit/SunGoddess (98 submissions) and Sea the Gold Coast (5 submissions) have recorded a total of 725 whales for us! We are extremely grateful for all of your contributions! Not only do we want to thank you and our dedicated volunteers for their amazing work, but we also want to acknowledge our partners that allow our volunteers to go on their boats. Without them the last 10 years of marine mammal monitoring would simply not have been possible! Our plans for the next few months you ask? Well, we will continue the data-crunching! In the next few months it is time to look at the trends over the last decade since our CEO Olaf Meynecke started this citizen-science program to observe and monitor our whales! Not only that, this off-season also gives us the opportunity to look at all the photos we have taken this season, and compare them with previous years. Do we have any re-sightings? Or maybe we surveyed the same whale in the Sunshine Coast and in the Gold Coast this year? We are excited to find out more, share the news with you, and we hope to see you all again in 2022!