Sightings of at least one and possibly two whales were made yesterday by Council workers and a contractor working at the Nelly Bay Harbour breakwall.
Council's Acting Foreman on Magnetic Island, Mr John Ewings, was among the workers who spotted the whales. He told Magnetic Times, "When I saw them out near the shipping channel. They were blowing air but I couldn't work out if there was one or two but I could see it quite easily".
"They were definitely floating out there for about three quarters of an hour - mucking around - but who knows how much longer they had been there before we saw them?"
John Ewings described the location as, "Straight out from the breakwater and just this side of the shipping channel"
"They were going back and forwards but basically in the same area. Four of us saw them, but Paul Watson who was working an excavator saw them first," he said.
As far as we know this is the first sighting of whales in Cleveland Bay for this year. Dr Kirstin Dobbs from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority told Magnetic Times, "It is not common but not unusual for whales to be seen at this time. We can expect them anytime between May and September.
Last year there were many whale sightings around Magnetic and unfortunately at least in one instance included what appeared to be severe harassment (read here) which could well have resulted in human injury or death as well as stress to the visiting whales.
There are strict rules which apply to watching whales from various watercraft and information regarding that can be found (here)
Story and file photo: George Hirst
To make a comment see below
Season's first whales at Nelly
These awesome animals that are showing themselves along our shores must be a magnificent sight. They are wild animal and any visitors should stay at a safe distance and give right of way and respect to these huge visitors. Someone should keep a database of the individuals that a sighted so they know the ones that return and new visitors. They are a sign of healthy oceans and mutual respect.