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Skipping work for a Whale of a time ..

Last Sunday night my mate Mel from Left of the Middle Photography messaged to tell she was going whale watching on Friday down at the bay (Port Stephens). I sent the obligatory abusive messages back complaining about work and not being able to go. Monday morning at work i decided to hit the boss up for a day off and managed to talk my way into a day off. Score! So i quickly messaged Mel to tell her she would be putting up with me after all on Friday.

We were heading out with the wonderful crew on Moonshadow – TQC Cruises, departing at 10am from d’Albora Marina in Nelson Bay, about 50 minutes to the North East of Newcastle. I met up with Mel and a few other photographers and we headed for the boat.

It was an absolutely glorious day, the sun was shining, the sky was blue and the port was almost like a lake – perfect conditions to be heading out of the heads in search of whales. The trip out of the port really is spectacular. As you exit the marina, you turn to the right and start to head for the heads passing a number of little bays/beaches along the way.

Looking out to the heads.

As you go around the point you pass the Marine Rescue base, keeping sailors and boats safe out on the water.

Just before you exit the port you pass Tomaree Headland, where you can see some of the original fortifications made to protect the mainland from invasion during WWII.

The WWII gun emplacements and related structures on Tomaree Head were established from 1941 and form part of the remnants of a system of defence for the protection of Newcastle and Port Stephens – important enough to warrant its establishment as a separate fire command. It includes sites that were developed for heavy gun emplacements, light weapons and machine gun pits, torpedo tubes, search light stations, No. 20 Radar Station RAAF, barbed wire and stake defence, a command post and barracks and other miscellaneous buildings.

Once you’ve exited the heads you get a fabulous view of the spit and out to Shark Island and the old Port Stephens Lighthouse.

The old lighthouse
Looking back to the 3 beaches.

It wasn’t too long after exiting the heads before we spotted our first whale!

We spent the next little while following this little pod up and down the coast.

It’s always so hard to cull photos – so apologies in advance LOL

As we were traveling along with them we realised there was baby calf

That little tiny light grey bump – that’s the baby calf nawww
With the flick of a tail they disappear beneath the water.

As we headed back into port we detour via the seal colony. They were far less interested in than we were of them.

As often happens we were escorted through the heads by some dolphins.

Dolphin escort.

Due to the depth of the port there is no heavy industry or big commercial activities, however there is a strong fishing fleet.

One of the fishing fleet coming home.

We arrived back at the marina just before 1pm, with enough time to jump off and grab some hot chips, before we head back out again – yes we were doubling up and doing two whale cruises.

It took us a little longer to find a whale on our afternoon cruise, but none the less we did find some.

Whale Tails, both thrilling and disappointing at the same time
The ever wandering Albatross

It was a tail kind of afternoon …

The slick / footprint of the whale helps to track where they might pop up next.

We had turned to make the trip home when in the distance we saw this little dude absolutely playing up a storm.

The captain made a beeline for him.

Hello there

Thankfully he hadn’t worn himself out before we got there.

and to finish off a short video taken on the morning cruise.

thanks for stopping by.

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Treescaping and Whale Hunting

This weekend we headed up to Port Stephens for a couple of nights. Last year we attended the Port Stephens Instasupermeet (instagram super meet), and were lucky enough to win a 2 night accommodation voucher at Port Stephens Treescape, and we were finally getting around to using it.

Treescapes is located at One Mile Beach, about 10 minutes from the heart of Port Stephens, Nelson Bay, and is set on 8 hectares of bushland and nestled on the edge of One Mile Beach and Samurai Beach sand dunes.

We arrived just after dark and accessed our key and park map via the after hours lock box, with the details Karen had messaged to us earlier. We were staying a One Bedroom Suite.

After settling in and putting our feet up for a little while, we headed down the road (about 7 minutes drive) to the Anna Bay Tavern. I’ve recently, for health reasons, removed Wheat from my diet, and this was the first time we have been away so we were unsure how it was all going to go.

As it turns out, the Tavern is very well setup for those of us seeking Gluten Free foods. We had a lovely dinner and beverage and I must say i was very surprised at just how big the tavern was.


Our whale watch cruise wasn’t due to sail until 11am, so we took advantage of the late start and headed into Nelson Bay for breakfast. We had been to a cafe when we were there for the instasupermeet with a friend who is Celiac, and she had been impressed with their knowledge and food handling so we were keen to head back there. We found the Cafe – Ethica Coffee House and had a lovely breakfast.


With our stomachs taken care of we headed to the wharf ready to board our whale watch cruise.

The seemingly calm waters of the bay were not what were waiting for us out in the bay and beyond the heads.

Unfortunately it wasn’t our day for whales, and unless they were right next to the boat or completely launch themselves out of the water, there was no way that we would have seen them in the swell and waves we encountered. Even without whales we still had a great cruise.

Our mate Mel joined us for the cruise.

I took a few videos with the GoPro to try and show the swells, but they don’t show up so well in the video’s. You can find them here – Video’s

After our cruise we met up with another friend Jane, and hung out for the afternoon, before slipping outside to catch the last of the sunset over the jetty.


We headed to the RSL for dinner with Mel and a few of her out of town mates. I’m beginning to think that my new food album is going to look a lot like a rabbit’s food album would !! Dinner at the RSL …

It was as big as it looks!

We had an earlish nite as i was starting to feel a little exhausted and bit icky again, and after being sick all week i didn’t want to push my luck with Mr Flu, which also meant that we gave sunrise a miss, and apparently it wasn’t too bad – doh !

Before departing we took a couple of more photo’s of Treescape.

Our Unit – the 300 block
Treescape by name and by nature.

On our way home we went exploring in a couple of the bays at Boat Harbour and Fishermans Bay, I’ll definitely be coming back here.

Kingsley Beach
Boat Harbour bay
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