Wednesday, December 08, 2010

15 Nov 2010: Nelsons Bay and the whale-watching cruise

15 Nov 2010 (Mon):

It was about 8.50 a.m. when I reached Nelsons Bay, Port Stephens. I was feeling excited at the thoughts of being on a whale and dophin watching cruise later the day at 10.30 a.m. While waiting for the cruise to start, I took strolls about the d'Alboro Marinas and enjoyed the scenic landscapes. Inspired by what I saw, I did my very first sketch in Sydney. I had brought along a brand new sketch-book in the hope of making time to practise my sketching skills and to enjoy the pleasures of sketching. Sketching has a therapeutic effect and it requires the person doing the sketch to capture the essence of what is being sketched by first being observant and creative.

At 10.15 a.m., I headed to Dock "C" and boarded the Imagine Cruises for my very first whale & dolphin watching cruise in my entire lifetime. I have found Imagine Cruises while researching on whale watching cruise over the internet. I had wanted to check out another service provider but found out that its last whale watching cruise for the year was on 13 Nov 2010. I like the intimate and cosy set-up of the cruise. It was a comfortable size to watch whales and dolphins. Before the cruise departed, the captain gave everyone onboard a series of safety instructions to bear in mind. After that, we head off in search for whales and dolphins.

The captain and the crew onboard were very nice people. They gave out motion-sickness pills to anyone who would want one. I didn't think I would need one so I did not ask for one. That proved to be a mistake, thankfully a minor one.

I was simply excited to be out in the open sea. The winds got being chilling and I was glad that I had brought along a good windbreaker to keep me warm. The only thing was that I wore it only much later on the journey. That meant I had endured quite a bit of shivers before my windbreaker had came to good use. I was the only Asian onboard the cruise. I was quite lucky that there was a comfortable number of passengers onboard the cruise so everyone had enough space to catch a very good view of whales and dolphins if they should appear.

It was possibly about one hour out in the open sea when someone onboard the cruise sighted humpback whales. I did not manage to capture much of our sightings on my camera. If it helps, here are two videos courtesy of Imagine Cruises to share with you. May these entice you with the joy of whale watching.

Humpback Whales Spy-hopping! from Imagine Cruises on Vimeo.

Here is one simple photo that I took of a whale which was breaching (leaping out of the water). See if you can spot the whale.

I was awed by the wonders of Nature. The whales are huge! I was thankful that I saw whales on the cruise. I was also thankful that I had only started experiencing motion sickness after we had lost sights of the whales. For a good 20 minutes of the journey, I was merely resting and sitting down to cope with the effects of the motion sickness. I have learnt that if it was a journey that takes more than one-and-a-half-hours, I am likely to need the motion-sickness pills.

Anyway, the cruise head to search for dolphins. However, we did not manage to see any dolphin on the cruise. We headed back for Nelsons Bay. I was feeling a bit disappointed not to see any dolphin. Thankfully, I would be back at Port Stephens on 17 Nov 2010 for a dolphin watching cruise. When the cruise arrived at Nelsons Bay, Port Stephens, the weather was pretty gloomy. I was grateful for a generally good weather throughout the cruise.

To treat myself to something warm after my first whale watching cruise, I ordered Fish and Chips from Sandbars cafe. The chips were delicous. They were peppered with some spices and was crispy on the outside, soft on the inside. The fish was served nicely warm, and the batter made it crispy on the outside.

After lunch, I took some moments to browse at one of the shops. The shop sold mood rings. However, the size of the mood rings were too small for me so I did not get any.

At about 2 p.m., when I was about to leave Nelsons Bay, the rain started pouring. I hastened my pace to get to the bus-stop and began my five-hours journey back to Sydney via Newcastle. The photo below was taken from the bus-stop while I was waiting for bus service 130, of the Port Stephens Coaches.

I slept quite a lot on the Port Stephens Coaches bus to Newcastle, so by the time when I was on the train to Sydney's Central station, I had enough energy to enjoy much of the sceneries onboard.

People and moments that I am grateful for:
1) I reached Sydney from Port Stephens safe and sound!
2) I saw whales out in the wild!
3) The weather was very kind to me. It was good weather throughout the entire cruise.
4) I did two sketches while I was at Port Stephens.
5) My friend, RL, was looking out for me. She was kind and thoughtful to send me a message in the evening to check if I had reached Sydney safely.

New things that I did:
1) I travelled a more than ten-hour long journey on my own from Sydney's Central station to Port Stephens, and back to Sydney's Central station. The three hours whale watching cruise was worth the long travelling hours.
2) I had my very first whale watching experience.

My learning points:
1) There are some things in life which are simply worth making one time for. Make time for these things even if the travelling time may seem long. The experiences will be rewarding.
2) Make back-up plans. It helps to plan in extra visits so as to increase one's chances to be present for what one wishes to see. I felt very thankful that I had planned for a separate dolphin watching cruise as a back-up plan.
3) Be grateful for what Nature has to offer. I was lucky that the whales decided to show themselves to the people onboard the cruise.
4) Learn to make allowance that sometimes things do not fall within our control, and celebrate whatever shows up. I did not get to see dolphins. The good news is that I was delighted seeing whales out in the wild.

Imagine Cruises


kyh said...

Cool sketches! And yes, sketching is therapeutic. I love to sketch too - but am just too lazy most of the time. :P

oceanskies79 said...

Thank you kyh. Sketch, anyway. ;)
Or else, make 30 minutes for sketching each month?