The Big Splash

You could be forgiven for thinking this is a picture of our twin tub washing machine going overboard… Captain Spin McKnotty tried to cram a whole laundry load into the spin tub and fried the motor. Leave him in charge of the laundry operations and see where it gets us!


No, this is a picture of 40 tons of blubber landing next to Take It Easy after doing a full breach! Serious body slamming!

Early afternoon on Sunday we left Port Stephens and headed for an overnight stay at the nearby island of Broughton. On the way we saw 3 or 4 Humpback Whales. You first see a blow in the distance, then their back, or a pectoral fin.


Fin showing just in front of Broughton Island

But then two decided to breach verrry cccclose on either side of the boat as we were sailing. “Which way do I go?” asked Wade as one cut right across our bows and launched itself clear out of the water on our port side. “Go right… oh no… There’s another one doing the same on that side too!” At this point I decided to sit down on the deck, camera in hand, fully expecting to lose my balance in the shock waves! “I’m a bit scared now!” And they do something like that then disappear for a few minutes and you can hear the Jaws music playing very loudly!


It was the most astounding spectacle, but just a tad close. You see whales tail slapping and waving their pectoral fins often at a respectable distance, but witnessing their exuberant breaching right next to Take It Easy was very exciting. In my surprise and awe I did not get the clearest of shots of the bodies launching into the air, but you will get the idea of these amazing sightings.


Sunrise at Providence Beach the next morning was like a stairway to heaven. We felt blessed in this serene seascape.

We enjoyed an early morning walk with Bengie and saw lots of bird.  We will make a proper stop on the way back down to fully appreciate this beautiful island… Something to look forward to.

We left later on Monday morning, headed for Forster-Tuncarry. Along the way we saw dozens of whales, but at a distance.

And today as we post this, we are sailing to Camden Haven and Laurieton where we expect to stay for a few days while the northerlies return.


Enjoy the gallery and do click on the first image to see the series in full screen!

26 thoughts on “The Big Splash

  1. These are fantastic shots! What a unforgettable experience! It made you nervous but I suspect that they knew what they were doing, no? They just were happy to see you! 🙂

    • Hi HJ, it was such an amazing experience! Yes we think they are very aware of the space around them, just not of the consequences of their belly flops so close to our flimsy little craft!

  2. Magic to see these photos. I wonder why the whales breach? Just the end of a feeding by swimming upwards strategy? Raw exuberance? Communication? Trying to impress the ladies?

    • There are a few hypotheses which include showing fitness and dominance as it takes a lot of energy to lunge out like that, but also stunning prey with the loud smack upon landing. And then there is the good old play behaviour. Whatever the reason they seem to do it in groups and in a series!

    • Hi John – yes for our first time seeing a breach it was an exhilarating sight! They are about the same length as the boat but many times its weight! And when they land after coming right out of the water they land with such a ‘smack’ it’s like an explosion!

  3. How fantastic, I am glad you are taking more pics and doing another post. Enjoy, Jealous. Reminds me of how precious this earth is and so pleased we can experience it. Live long & prosper whales. Wadie your title is getting longer the more you mess up, was Captain Knotty and now it’s Captain Spin McKnotty. Love it.

    • Oh Sue it is so amazing and we feel very lucky to witness this and more today! … Babies and their mums … eager to play and probably exhausting themselves with multiple breaches in a row! Captain Spin McKnotty doing good today! 🐳

  4. How fantastic, can it get any better? It’s wonderful to see them even at a distance but up so close, very very special. Thank you for the great shots.

  5. Terrific experience; and photography! We’ve seen quite a few, but mostly further away, tho I did snap one just lazing on the surface a few days ago. We are in the Coomera River at present.
    Broughton Is is lovely, eh ?

    • Hi Doug, just made it to Laurieton. We like Broughton Is. We’ve been there a few times but never long enough to explore so we’ll make a point of returning for bird watching, snorkelling and checking out the Grey Nurse Sharks! The whales are sensational… seen a few more at close quarters today. What a treat! How many crew have you got with you?

      • Currently, I am skippering for the couple who are the owners, husband and wife, of a new 44ft cat, whom I count as friends these last three years. Rob is a sailor, so we take alternate watches at night; and whoevever feels like it during the day. Lyn keeps us well fed, and other housekeeping tasks. So there’s three all told. At other times we’ve had three watch keepers; equals more sleep! Not that we sail thru every night; maybe two or three per week on a long voyage.

  6. We are so loving your blogs. So much info for us for future reference. Thank you Chris and Wade keep up the posts we hang with bated breathes for your next episode.

    • Hi Janne- so glad you are enjoying our tribulations! These last couple of weeks have been really fun. We are now at Laurieton… highly recommended, calm, scenic and easy for provisioning with a couple of courtesy moorings.

  7. Sounds like you got all your issues sorted out and back on track. I’m so motivated by your travels so it’s back to the building shed. I hit a milestone as I moved the first hull out of my shed and I’m almost ready for sheeting.
    Thanks again for the inspiration

    • Hey Dean, good to hear you are back into it. We know it’s a huge undertaking for you but so worth it! Thanks for the feedback. It is always nice to hear Easy builders get some encouragement out of our posts.

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