Whales are common in the winter months in the tropics. One big male surfaced directly in front of my port ama--I had to start the diesel
and reverse to avoid running on to him. He drew ahead of me very leisurely and when he next surfaced was about a hundred metres ahead--so we resumed course.
Biggest shark I have seen alongside was a Tiger shark--estimated sixteen feet long. As big a Tiger as I have seen anywhere. They come into the shallows to eat turtles and stingrays--but I also saw a basking shark that was much bigger but a lot further away--and a plankton feeder--
There are a lot of whales around the Whitsunday Islands in the winter--they calve up there, then return south to feed on krill during our Summer. One has to watch out for them all of the time, but if I see them I start the diesel
. This way they know I am not a whale in trouble.
Sharks are extremely common on the Australian coast--and if one baits a bouyed set line with a bunch of fresh whole mullet on a light chain or heavy cable trace and four to six inch hook, so that the bait floats clear of the bottom feeding crabs and the anchor
, the chances are good that you will hook a shark--and often a large shark. Why would one bother? One hooks enough of the smaller varieties by accident
for one's dinner.
I was at anchor
one evening when the depth alarm
sounded--although I knew I was in over twenty feet of water
at low water
springs. Anyhoo--I shone a spotlight over the side and saw two large pale blue objects about a metre apart below the boat, like two huge luminous eyes staring out of the gloom, ahead of an ominous looking shadow. One of them pulsed at me and I knew it was a jellyfish--and the dark long shadow a patch of seaweed. Just then downtide of my tri I heard a turtle's explosive exhalation--so now when I hear something passing under the vessel I still check the depth--I have even had turtles bounce their way down the hull
in the current
, which can be quite strong in some places where the tide fall is considerable and the navigable channels are narrow. Good anchors are essential.