Freedom Charters’ Eden surprised by hitchhiking seal during whale watching experience
An inquisitive fur seal is one of many making the most of Freedom Charters’ whale watching tours this season, hitching a ride on the back of the vessel “Connemara”.
On board at the time was Freedom Charters manager Helen Buckingham, who was just as surprised as the tourists.
“The seal leapt out of the water and on to the marlin deck on the back of the boat, and it just sat there for about 15 minutes having a bit of a breather,” Ms Buckingham said. “We like to think it was watching the whales as well!”
Ms Buckingham said that seals regularly interact with the boat especially when fishing is in action, but this is the first time a seal has physically jumped a’board.
“It certainly gave the people on the boat something else to talk about other than the whales,” Mrs Buckingham said.
Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre (SCMDC) manager Kerryn Wood was equally delighted with the incident, suggesting it was another wonderful example of the complexity and co-existence of our oceans’ marine creatures.
And it’s exactly this “bigger picture” that the two organisations are wanting to promote this whale-watching season.
“This is the first year that Freedom Charters has joined up with the SCMDC with a view of giving the visitors to Eden both value for money as well as educational experience,” Ms Wood said. “We are doing a ticket comb deal whereby any whale-watching tour also gives the visitor an entry ticket into the marine centre. This way people can enjoy the live experience in the field, and then maximise that experience with more information about Twofold Bay ecology and the whale migration in the marine centre.”
Freedom Charters runs out of Snug Cove, Eden, and offers daily whale watching tours. Ms Wood is excited about the union between the organisations, providing the marine centre with a vessel for future snorkeling tours and marine exploration.
“It makes sense to work together in a small community,” Ms Wood said. “We’re hoping to get some great programs and activities up and running.”
Ms Buckingham said that the whale watching season has been “awesome” so far, with the whales putting on a “good show” for the visitors.
And the loudest clapping right now is probably from the fur seal contingent, who are never too far from the action.
For further information about the ticket combo deal, call Helen Buckingham from Freedom Charters on 0415 602 446 or Kerryn Wood at the SCMDC: 64 961699.