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Press Release: Whales Arrive at Cape Otway

Issued: 25 June 2007

CAPE Otway Lighthouse is the perfect vantage point for watching humpback whales and their calves at play this week.

Colac Otway Shire residents have been making the most of the new free Locals’ Pass and watching the amazing mammals, which can be up to 15 metres long, in the waters between the historic lighthouse and Otway Reef.

Two humpback cows and their young were in clear view for several hours on Monday, and other humpbacks were sighted on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Lightstation manager Paul Thompson said the Locals’ Pass, which means free entry to the heritage precinct for all Shire residents, was launched to coincide with the whales’ annual migratory visits in early June.

“It’s just that the whales decided to call in a little later than usual this year,” Mr Thompson said.

Now that the whales have arrived he expects the steady stream of locals to increase, especially during the school holidays.

“There aren’t many places you can take the whole family for a free day out with so much to do – kids can join the lighthouse tour, explore the Telegraph Station and World War Two Radar Bunker and while they’re at the top of the lighthouse there’s a very good chance they’ll get to see a whale,” Mr Thompson said.

“The whales have been known to do tricks.

“Today they were actually breaching, which is pretty spectacular.”

Humpbacks, which are described by scientists as active, acrobatic whales are famous for breaching or throwing themselves completely clear of the water.

Another of their endearing characteristics is tail lobbing, where they raise their huge tales out of the water and slap the surface of the sea.

Mr Thompson said calm clear days were the best for whale-watching.

Between now and October humpback, minke and southern right whales can be spotted from Cape Otway.

For more information call Lightstation manager Paul Thompson on 5237 9240. For more details about Cape Otway Lightstation visit www.lightstation.com.

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