In a year desperately in need of good news, the oceans have delivered.
The spectacular white whale known as Migaloo is believed to have been spotted off the New South Wales coast, partway through his annual journey from Antarctica to Queensland.
While it hasn’t been officially confirmed, if it is Migaloo there is more good news, as he is looking plump and healthy. Concerns were raised for his health when he was sighted heading south last year.
“He was looking a quite skinny last time and he was swimming quite slowly, so we were a bit concerned, but that isn’t totally unusual for males when they are making their way south,” said Jodi Heeney, owner of Port Jet Cruise Adventures in Port Macquarie.
“He is just such a distinctive animal, he is just iridescent. He lights up the water around him,” Heeney said.
While your chances of spotting this particular white whale may be slim, there are plenty of other mammals in the sea.
“The number of whales is just going up every year, there are about 30,000 that migrate up to Queensland and back. We are seeing about 200 a day at the moment,” Heeney said.
The whale-watching season starts in May in Tasmania, and Victoria and gets going in earnest around June. The season runs through to November, so there is still time to plan a trip to the coast as state borders reopen.
However, a boat is not required whale-watching equipment, and watching from land means there is no risk of disturbing the animals.
You can spot humpbacks and southern right whales from Pyramid Rock or the Cape Woolamai walk on Victoria’s Phillip Island. You might have to hurry to see them heading north, but they will be making their way back to Antarctica in a few months.
For Sydneysiders, consider Cape Solander in Kamay Botany Bay national park, where whales have been known to come within a few hundred meters of the shore.
Later in the season, you can tackle the Tomaree Head summit walk in Port Stephens, NSW, where you may be able to spot humpback mothers with their new calves.
If you are on the Gold Coast, Burleigh Hill in Burleigh Heads is a great vantage point, although you may want to bring binoculars.
In Tasmania, there are plenty of vantage points around Frederick Henry Bay and Great Oyster Bay, where whales make their last stop on their way south.
Have you had a whale-watching experience that you love to relate? We want to know. Tell us your most jaw-dropping ocean adventure in the comments below. (Hopefully it has a happier ending than Captain Ahab’s.)