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To Boat Harbour for Whales

The weather has been almost perfect this weekend – for a winter weekend, and its been a cold one this year! With winter cabin fever feeling like its taking over we headed north about 45 minutes to the edge of beautiful Port Stephens to Boat Harbour.

From the easternmost end of Ocean Parade in highest part of the suburb, adjacent to Tomaree National Park there are striking views of the coastline. On a clear day it is possible to follow the coast southwards to the horizon, well beyond the City of Newcastle (our home). It’s a popular spot for whale watching in the winter as they migrate north and today was no exception.

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The path leading out to the point was quite busy when we arrived.
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The view looking south, at the furthest point of the rocks you can see the magnificent Stockton Sand Dunes rising out of the landscape.
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The sea was rough but not wild like it can get here.

We had barely made it to the top of the walking trail and started to look out into the blue abyss before we saw what we had come searching for – a whale!

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Our first spotting for the day.

Quite a few pods passed by quite quickly and all on the move, not too much splashing around and certainly no breaching.

Then the pause, so i went hunting around for a few shots whilst we waited (and hoped) for the next pod/s to make their way past.

I always love the sea mist on the coastline, but find it hard to capture and even harder to edit. I was quite happy with these ones considering i had my 100-400mm lens on.

As i was hunting through the view finder for mist compositions the views of the Stockton Sand Dunes came into view, and i had to take some photos. The ripples and rises of the dunes are so clear. The two people standing on the rocks in the first picture provide some scale.

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Stockton Bight sand dunes in the Worimi Conservation Lands.

Created thousands of years ago, they are the largest moving coastal dunes in the Southern Hemisphere and the dunes tower as much as 40 metres above the sea level. The Worimi Conservation Lands include over 25km of coastline – most of stunning Stockton Beach, which curves 32km from the Hunter River at Newcastle to Buribi Point in Anna Bay, Port Stephens. Behind the dunes is a forest of blackbutt and smooth-barked apple gums, with paperbark pockets.

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Stockton Bight sand dunes in the Worimi Conservation Lands.
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Moon spotting in the daylight

And finally in the distance along Stockton Bight we saw another couple of pods approaching. Capturing whales with the dunes in the background was an absolute highlight and a shot i hadn’t really considered so i stoked.

Closer they came …

come on, keep coming  …

Can you imagine being the guy in the sea kayak or the fishing boat!

and closer they came …

and with the flick of a tail they were gone, and so it was time for us to go as well.

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Wave of the tail to say goodbye

What an awesome way to spend Sunday afternoon. Thanks for stopping by.

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Tin City Sunrise

Stockton beach lies just to the north of Newcastle and is 32 km (20 mi) long and stretches. Over many years Stockton Beach has been the site of numerous shipwrecks and aircraft crash sites. In some areas it is as much as 1 km (0.6 mi) wide and has sand dunes over 30 metres (98 ft). Each year the dunes move north by approximately 4 m (13 ft). The sand on Stockton Beach varies from hard to soft packed and changes daily with the changing winds and weather. The dunes are the largest continuous mobile sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere and make for great 4 wheel driving and photography.

Due to storms and shifting of the frontal dunes access along the entire beach has been reduced for a period of time however there is a tourist company that operates buses to the Dunes and “Tin City”.

In the late 19th century shipwrecks on Stockton Beach were so common that two tin sheds were constructed on a part of the beach to hold provisions for shipwrecked sailors. During the Great Depression of the 1930s a group of squatters constructed a series of tin shacks at the site. During World War II the shacks were torn down to make way for an Army camp. Today, eleven of the shacks, known collectively as “Tin City”, remain but no new shacks may be built. Nor can existing shacks be rebuilt if they are destroyed by the elements.

A bus load of Sundancers piled into the bus and headed down the beach in pitch black to shoot “Tin City” at sunrise.

This one was taken about an hour before sunrise:

Tin City Stars

This is the dunes on sunrise:

Sand Dune Light

Copyrighted. All images and rights are reserved by Emma White / The Whiteview Photography. You are welcome to post via a direct link. Please do not crop, copy, reproduce or distribute in anyway without permission. If you would like to use any of my pictures – for personal or commercial usage – please contact me so that we can discuss what  options may best suit your needs. If you have any other questions, please drop me an email.