The struggle of photographing whales off Sydney - Art of Journey
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The struggle of photographing whales off Sydney

For a long time it has been a point on my bucket list to see whales in the wild. When I went to Australia in 2012 I felt confident that I would be able to see some there. In the beginning I managed to spot them from the shore breaching in the distance but that was to far away for me. At least now I knew that it was actually possible to spot them there in the wild.


rising up from the deep sea

After some further investigation I found out that they migrate along the Australian East-Coast twice a year. In winter they swim north into temperate waters to calf and afterwards the other way with their newborns to feed in the arctic waters. If you want to read more about whale migration click here.
This lead to the decision to participate in a whale watching trip in hope to get closer to them.
The next day I arrived at the pier with a borrowed tele lens pumped to see those gentle giants. I returned disappointed after scanning the horizon for hours without any luck…
Fortunately the company I booked my trip with guaranteed that you would see whales otherwise you could embark on a second trip for free.
Therefore I returned a week later hoping to get lucky this time, due to bad weather this trip ended up being significantly shorter than the previous one. This time I managed to see an Albatross and loads of sea sick Asian tourists, but the whales still decided not to show themselves to me.


not a whale but cool to see nontheless

After a conversation with a photographer working for the company I found out that the whale season was winding down and chances to see them were getting smaller every day. Because I feared I might see one whale from a far next time I would embark which would prevent me from doing another free one. This little chat led me to the decision not to try my luck again during this season.

Fast forward 7 months, during which I managed to see sharks and dolphins but no whales, and I returned to Sydney: Time was running out because my plane to Bangkok left only a few days later.


they finally arrived

One last time I decided to try my luck and this time the whales finally decided to show up.

We saw a total of 17 humpback whales that day including calves, juveniles and grown up’s and they decided to put on a show probably due to the females ones accompanying them. The curious whales were tale slapping, breaching, fin waving and swam up close to our boat. One of them came about 3m close to me which was an absolutely breathtaking experience.




After my final successful trip I left the boat content looking forward to my next adventure in South-East Asia and already planning my encounter with a whale shark.


Hope you enjoyed my story check back soon for more,

Cheers Luis


waving goodbye…

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