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Press Release: Whales at Cape Otway

Issued: 8 July 2010

WHALES are making a habit of calling in at Cape Otway Lightstation, delighting tourists who get a bird’s eye view of the massive mammals from the lighthouse balcony, 80m above Bass Strait.

Families making the most of the school holidays were thrilled to see a Southern Right Whale and her baby lazing in the waves close to the iconic lighthouse on Tuesday morning.

That afternoon three humpback whales swam past the historic beacon.

Lightstation manager Paul Thompson said whale traffic past the lighthouse appeared to be on the rise in recent years and particularly this winter.

“The season usually starts in May, but we saw our first whales in April this year, and we’ve seen them every calm day since the start of June,” he said.

“We have certainly had a lot more sightings this year than previous years, and the whales have been very active, putting on a show for the tourists,” Mr Thompson said.

“I’ve been manager at the Lightstation for seven years and this has certainly been the best year for whale sightings,” he added.

“Pretty much every clear day we have from May to October people spot whales from the lighthouse.”

As soon as the whales are spied the information is forwarded to Apollo Bay Visitor Information Centre where tourism staff fly a whale flag to alert residents and visitors to whale sightings.

Mr Thompson said the Lightstation would also use Twitter to broadcast information about whale sightings.
“The Lightstation can be followed on twitter.com/capeotwaylight,” he added.

“Many of the visitors we have at the Cape want to get up close with nature and here at the heart of the Great Ocean Walk there are so many opportunities.

“Tourists love seeing the koalas on the approach to the lighthouse, they often see wallabies and kangaroos, and it’s a huge bonus when they get to see a whale from up high on Australia’s most significant lighthouse.”

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