THREE humpback whales swam onto Narooma inlet on Sunday morning in a rare and special encounter for the crowd lucky enough to be there watching.
The trio consisted of a large adult with a very small calf by her side and another larger young whale.
The whales swam through the entrance in a relaxed manner and made their way past the shark net to the old town wharf before turning back around and swimming back out to sea.
Kris and Murray Armstrong from Coastal Comfort Motel said they saw the three whales hugging the coastline north of Narooma at Kianga and thought they were unusually close to land.
They rushed through Narooma to get to the headland south of the inlet entrance and was amazed to see the whales actually swim through the bar crossing and into the inlet.
“We know Narooma is a magic place but for us this morning was something unforgettable,” Kris said.
Apparently one of the charter boats was packed full of whale watchers but was held up at the town wharf until the whales made their way back out to sea
Narooma fisherman Peter Davies was also held up on his way out on his cruiser All Torque and was able to watch the whales turn around getting a snap at the old wharf.
Humpback whales were known on occasion to enter bays and inlets on their southern migration and there have been whales enter the Narooma inlet before.
Former charter boat operator Kathie Thackray took photos of whale that swam all the way back to the Narooma Bridge on July 27, 1994 before it too made its way back out.
The whales season at its peak at the moment with a steady stream of whales delighting fishers and boaters off Narooma and Bermagui.
There were numerous whale sightings over the weekend including the mother and calf killer whales or orcas reported on in the Narooma News last week.
Narelle Myers from Bermagui said she saw the orca mother and calf off the Bermagui Blue Pool on Saturday morning, where that same morning there was also a breaching humpback seen splashing down rather close to an unsuspecting fishing boat.
Whale watching advice
Migrating whales are delighting watchers all along the east coast this season, and National Parks reminds people both on and in the water to observe distance regulations for their own safety and that of whales.
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Marine Fauna Program Coordinator Geoff Ross said swimmers, sea kayakers, and surfers were bound by the same regulations as apply to people in motorised boats.
Vessels, including surfboards, must not approach within 100 metres of a whale, and that triples to 300 metres if a calf is present.
Swimmers cannot approach within 30 metres however we do not recommend people enter the water near whales.
“If a whale approaches you it’s your responsibility to move away calmly and cautiously, considering public safety and the whale’s safety.”
When you see a whale, tweet with the hashtag #whaleon to @WildAboutWhales or log the sighting using their free app so others in the area can view the animal and track its movements.
If you see an entangled marine animal or one in distress, call NPWS on 1300 361 967 and the Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA) on 9415 3333.
The Office of Environment and Heritage works closely with volunteering groups like ORRCA to empower the community to care for their own environment, including wildlife.