Brisbane Airport BNE Issue 4 - page 18

escape
I
have just two tips for would-be whale watchers.
1. Be the first to bags the beanbag at the front
of the sailing boat before anyone else even
thinks about it! And 2. Listen to your skipper.
If he suggests, politely, starting out early – like
7am – then don’t, repeat
don’t
, be tempted to
sleep in an extra hour or so and take off at 9am,
even if he gives you the option – he doesn’t really
mean it! These are just two things I learned after
a day aboard the
eau de vie
, skippered by Darryl
Franklin, on a mission to sail with the whales.
Darryl loves sailing, that’s easy to see as soon
as you board, and he’s been doing it most of his
life, but for the last five years he has been sharing
his love of the water by hosting charter sailing
trips around the Broadwater and out to sea when
the whale watching season is on. The
eau de vie
is an 11-metre long French-built luxury sailing
sloop with a teak deck and the capacity to carry
up to 11 passengers but Darryl limits his whale
watching groups to just six people so it’s an
18
| BNE August/September 2014
There are many ways to view whales but only one where you feel like you are
swimming right along with them, writes
Heather McWhinnie
intimate and comfortable day out with friends.
That’s really what sets this experience apart from
the host of commercial tours out there – it quite
literally is a tour for just you and your friends.
Darryl doesn’t mix groups on the boat so it feels
like you’re on your very own boat and before you
have left Runaway Bay Marina Darryl seems like
a lifelong friend.
Darryl claims an unblemished record in
guaranteeing whales on every trip and we were
not disappointed. It is estimated about 20,000
whales will pass the coast on their migration
between June and November and already this
season Darryl has seen as many as 100 over 10
hours in one day.
We saw a playful pod and spent a few hours
(although it seemed to go much more quickly)
sailing silently with majestic humpback whales
as they swam, ducked and dived and, yes, waved
their tails around us. I had the best seat in the
house – a double bean bag at the very front tip
of the boat – and no one was going to get me
out of it until we got back to shore. It was snug,
soft and secure the whole trip, even when it was
a little choppy and windy at times.
In my ‘front row’ seat there were times when
my heart was pumping, not knowing quite when
or how close the whales were going to surface
next and, yes, I admit to the odd scream or two
when they came up very close. Thrilling.
On board the
eau de vie
it really is all about
the whale watching. Darryl has his camera at the
ready in case you miss the candid moments (he
seems to be able to steer and take pictures at the
same time while I was afraid I was going to lose
my camera overboard with every wave) and he
has a few tips for the amateur photographer on
how to get the best shots.
Food and drink is BYO and it’s best to make
sure it’s ready to eat without any preparation,
just because you don’t want to spend time below
deck when the whales are playing and if the
Sailing with whales
Photograhy by Darryl Franklin
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