Written by Shaun Ryan
If you’ve ever been on a whale watching cruise in Hervey Bay, there’s a good chance you have been on a boat skippered by Captain Phil House.
Captain Phil has been helping locals and visitors to the Fraser Coast see the humpback whales as they migrate along Australia’s eastern coastline since the late 1990s.
“It’s something that I never get tired of,” said Captain Phil.
“Whales are so special and our cruises allow for two species of mammals to interact on the calm waters of Hervey Bay.”
Boating has a special place in Captain Phil’s heart.
When he is not out on the water skippering vessels during the popular whale watching season, Captain Phil can be found leading Twilight Bay Cruises, Sandy Straits Scenic and Wildlife Cruises and Mary River ‘Sunday in the Park’ Cruises for The Boat Club Adventure Cruises.
The job includes two of Captain Phil’s passions – skippering boats and storytelling.
“When I’m out on the water I’m not just controlling the boat, I am constantly interacting with our passengers. I’ve learnt so much about whales, the waterways and the area since joining the industry.”
He said the cruises, especially those up the Mary River, help him share the area’s history with passengers.
“I’ve learnt about the different families that lived along the river and Maryborough’s rich history – and I get to share that with our guests.”
With the 2021 whale watching season in full swing, Captain Phil said he was looking forward to ensuring his passengers received the perfect view of the humpback whales.
Hervey Bay is considered one of the best whale watching areas in the world and that’s thanks to the positioning of K’gari (Fraser Island).
“Hervey Bay offers whales, especially mothers with newborn calves, a place of refuge as they continue their migration back to Antarctica,” explained Captain Phil.
The relatively shallow water in comparison to the open ocean means there is little place for predators to ambush calves. The bay is protected from strong swells by K’gari and almost becomes a playground for the whales that stopover.
“Some of the whales will stay for around a week and they become very calm and inquisitive,” explained Captain Phil.
“Humpback whales are naturally curious so they will come up to the boats to see what is going on.”
Captain Phil urged locals and visitors to book a whale watching tour with The Boat Club Adventure Cruises this year.
He said the boat was very stable on the water and designed to give passengers a comfortable experience. Passengers are also offered discounts at the Boat Club.
“It’s a whole day experience, not just the cruise,” said Captain Phil.
Most importantly, he said his crew was passionate about what they do and put passengers first.
For more information on the different cruises, visit http://www.boatclubadventurecruises.com.au.