Australian Fur Seals
Duration: Half Day: Phillip Island
Type: Groups, Private Charter.
Interests: Marine Mammals.
Marine biologist, Mikala Peters, has focused her work on marine ecotourism, wildlife monitoring and education, and is especially keen on engaging the community in whale and dolphin watching. As part of this tour, guests will join Mikala in recording sightings including GPS location, whale numbers, pod composition, behaviour, surface time and any interaction with the vessel.
Photos of the dorsal side and flukes for ID purposes will be taken, with guests also gaining a behind the scenes insight into the Two Bays Whale Project as part of the Dolphin Research Institute. The project provides a repository for photographic identification imagery and sightings information. The key species’ for this citizen science project are Humpback and Southern Right Whales but may also include other species such as Orcas, Minke and Blue Whales.
Mikala Peters is an experienced marine biologist that has been involved in numerous marine ecotourism, wildlife monitoring and education projects. In recent years, she has played a lead role for Wildlife Coast Cruises, in contributing to the Dolphin Research Institute's Two Bays Whale Project.
This citizen science initiative was launched in 2015, to formalise the process of recording the sightings of whales across Port Phillip, Western Port and adjacent waters. Humpback and Southern Right Whales are the most commonly sighted species as part of the initiative, although Orcas, Minke and Blue Whales are also occasionally recorded.
As part of this 'behind the scenes' tour, Mikala will present information about the history of the project, recent trends with sightings and migration movements and a look through the comprehensive image repository compiled for identification purposes. Advice will be provided about taking identification photographs for the two whale species, with a focus on fin and flukes for Humpback Whales and lateral jaw lines and callosities for the Southern Right Whales.
Guests will then depart on the Winter Whale Cruise aboard the comfortable 20m catamaran 'Kasey Lee'. A trip to Seal Rocks will provide the opportunity to observe a huge colony of Australian Fur Seals, before continuing along the south coast of Phillip Island in search of Humpback and Southern Right Whales, When the whales are spotted, Mikala will provide assistance in the process for recording the sightings, with GPS location, pod composition, behaviour, surface time and interaction with the vessel systematically recorded.
Guests will also gain additional insight into the biology, social behaviour, communication and migration patterns of each species. Following the cruise, a dedicated Google Map will be updated with this information and fluke/fin/jaw line images passed onto the research database.
Pricing: On request as private charter
Vessel Details: The ‘Kasey Lee’ is a 20 metre (64 foot) modern catamaran, comfortably seating 80 passengers in indoor and outdoor areas on two floors, with a fully licensed bar, souvenir and snack shop.
Pick-up and Drop Off Point: Cowes, Phillip Island, Victoria
Pick-up and Drop-off Time: TBA at time of booking
As part of our commitment to sustainability we have developed a code of practice relating to our wildlife interactions along with involvement in several conservation programs. We have also sought independent verification of our practices through Ecotourism Australia. Our Advanced Ecotourism Accreditation is awarded to Australia's leading and most innovative ecotourism products, providing an opportunity to learn about the environment with an operator who is committed to achieving best practice when using resources wisely, contributing to the conservation of the environment and helping local communities.
All of our sightings are contributed to the Two Bays Whale Project
WINNER TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2018 • 2017 • 2016 • 2015 • 2014
WINNER Bass Coast Business of the Year 2014
RUNNER UP RACV Victorian Tourism Awards 2017
To book a Behind the Scenes tour, please contact our friendly reservations team via the button below.
"We joined the winter whale cruise today. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We saw at least five Humpback whales, one of them even jumped out of the water twice so that we could saw the whole whale. It was unbelievable spectacular. We saw seals and dolphins as well. The crew are nice and friendly, highly recommend." - Tina, Hong Kong
"The whole experience was great from initial booking to saying farewell to the crew and vessel. This was our third trip with Wildlife Coast Cruises and it exceeded all our expectations with many humpback whales to watch as well as common dolphins, Australian fur seals, lots of seabirds from Albatross to gannets to Sooty Oystercatchers. A thoroughly enjoyable day with the knowledgeable, skilled friendly crew and perfect weather conditions, all in all a fantastic and unforgettable day observing all the whale behaviours from breaching, tail slapping and fin waving - it couldn't have been better and the food was really great too - a big thank you for the experience to Wildlife Coast Cruises" - Joy, Australia
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