Swim with Humpback Whales on the Sunshine Coast

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Added by Anton Lucanus

A true bucket list experience that is at once awe inspiring and bewilderingly humbling.

It is no secret that the way that we go about life has been distinctively impacted just like every other aspect of life as we know it in recent months (think of the rise of businesses like vapor solo to digital means or the complete digital revolution of an entire industry,  for instance). This is especially true for the way that we travel. While travel has not come to a complete halt throughout the time of the pandemic, it is important to note that the way it will travel has been distinctively impacted, sometimes in drastic ways. As much of the world was forced to shut down in recent months, the traditional ways that we travel and experience the world were pushed to the side and forced to temporarily realign with the way that the world was moving.

Living in Australia, there is an abundance of natural beauty and exciting adventures to be had in every part of the country. Here in Queensland, we have it all. From the rugged read out back to the perfect blue ocean side beaches, and everywhere in between beyond, Queensland is a state that truly does have it all. And one of the biggest and best ventures that you can have not only in Queensland not only in Australia but in the entire world is getting to experience the ocean with those that call at home. Is this type of experience that allows us to really dive into the natural world in ways that are unforgettable in and of themselves.

One of my favourite travel adventures happens to be the latest one that myself and my partner got to experience. It is a true bucket list experience that is at once awe inspiring and bewilderingly humbling. Just a month ago, we got to swim with humpback whales off the  Sunshine Coast. There is something incredibly powerful about being in the ocean so close to such a gentle giant. You get off the boat, aware of what you were about to experience and hopeful that you're about to have the exact experience that your boys wanted. You are preparing your way through the water, swimming as hard as you can and trying to keep up with the incredible creatures that you've come so far out to see to experience and share the water with.

It is almost too quiet. You feel like you are on the border of some incredible dream where you're floating in the blue and perhaps there is nothing there at all. Perhaps, you thought you saw it from the boat but really was your mind playing tricks on you. and then, at the corner of your eye, you see the graceful arc of a pectoral fin as a whale comes up from underneath you to check you out. There is nothing quite like that moment, the awareness that the pec fin itself is twice the size of your entire body. You are completely at the mercy of the biggest creature on Earth and rather than being afraid, you are in perfect awe.

Even better is the realisation that it seems that they seem to be in awe of you as well. That mutual respect is like nothing else. The spatial awareness is dizzying and you know, in that perfect moment, that they are not only just as smart as you but perhaps even smarter. The whales seem to dance around you and the ocean fills with soft whale song as they joyously alert other whales in the area to the fact that they have found those strange little creatures once again. It is an experience that is entirely unique and undeniably powerful in just about every way you can think of. The second you get out of the water you want to go back. And as the soft whale song continues to feel the water beneath the boat, it seems as if they want you to come back too. 

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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