They are lovely creatures. We saw them in twos and threes, and a pod of five or six, and we travelled with them for about two kilometres or more. It was captivating. Such grace and beauty displayed by such large creatures.
It was a little disappointing that the operator of another cruise was cutting the whales off, breaking the pod up - our skipper said this is actually illegal behaviour, not to mention how disrespectful it is to the whales themselves.
Which brings me to a point I can't quite reconcile. I am dead against activities like horse racing, which explicitly exploit animals in service of human greed - and yes, I feel this is exploitation in a different way to farming animals for food. That seems to me to be more about the survival systems of creation, whereas training horses to run fast around a track with a rider on their back, for our entertainment, and more, for the insipid activities of gambling which harm more than just the horses, I cannot agree with.
So where does whale watching come in - how much is this exploitation of the wales, with our interruption of their annual migration for our pleasure, and how much is it an activity promoting our celebration of creation, whales themselves, and understanding, fostering respect for the creatures to whom we are charged to give care??
For the most part, with skippers and tour operators who respect the animals and minimise the interruption to the whales, I think whale watching is part of our celebration of creation, our understanding of the whales, and our efforts to better understand them.
But when tour operators become competitive, wanting to give their customers the 'best' view, at the cost of the comfort and safety of the whales, then we are exploiting them.
So I am very glad we happened upon a tour operator with integrity - in fact, we went on a cruise with them yesterday up the river system where we discovered more about oyster farming and the ecosytstem in this area. Again, that tour was conducted with respect for the river, the farmers, for creation. Mum and Dad are going on another tour with them on Wednesday, after I leave for Sydney, further up the river. May we always be so lucky to happen upon business people with integrity, and may we show them our support and appreciation for that.
So, if you are in Port Macquarie, I recommend taking a tour with cruise adventures.