Max Allen Snr with wife Carmel and son Max Allen Jnr. The family are celebrating 20 years of business for the Freedom Fast Cats.
Max Allen Snr with wife Carmel and son Max Allen Jnr. The family are celebrating 20 years of business for the Freedom Fast Cats. Contributed

Whale of a time: But they got more than they bargained for

WHALE watching season has proven to be worth the wait this year with those on Freedom Fast Cats' ferry yesterday spotting a mother and a newborn calf frolicking off the Capricorn Coast.

Eagle-eyed watchers were captivated as the mother taught its baby the ropes - breaching, giving the boat a wave and warding off curious dolphins.

A mother whale and her baby calf were spotted by a Freedom Fast Cats whale watching tour off the Capricorn Coast on Wednesday.
A mother whale and her baby calf were spotted by a Freedom Fast Cats whale watching tour off the Capricorn Coast on Wednesday. Freedom Fast Cats

One part of the family-owned business, Max Allen, said the calf was the smallest he had seen since they started the whale tours last year.

"The mother breached the water and the baby did a couple of breaches, so I think she was training the baby," Mr Allen said.

"They're beautiful, playful creatures. Sometimes they swim up the boat, they're very curious, but yesterday they kept their distance.

"Sometimes it's like whales watching people. It works both ways."

A mother whale and her baby calf were spotted by a Freedom Fast Cats whale watching tour off the Capricorn Coast on Wednesday.
A mother whale and her baby calf were spotted by a Freedom Fast Cats whale watching tour off the Capricorn Coast on Wednesday. Freedom Fast Cats

"I would say the baby was only a couple of days old. The mother was very protective and as soon as the dolphins came too close, the mother came in between them and the baby."

Mr Allen said that although the migration north had been a bit slow to start this year, a month behind time, there had been quite a lot of sightings in the last week.

"As the weeks go by now we'll see a steady increase of sightings and because the weather is so beautiful at the moment, it's really easy to spot them," he said.

"It's definitely the time to come out whale watching."

A mother whale and her baby calf were spotted by a Freedom Fast Cats whale watching tour off the Capricorn Coast on Wednesday.
A mother whale and her baby calf were spotted by a Freedom Fast Cats whale watching tour off the Capricorn Coast on Wednesday. Freedom Fast Cats

Mr Allen started the ferry service at Rosslyn Bay Harbour 20 years ago.

He and his wife Carmel operated extended charters up and down the Queensland coast and the Coral Seas before they decided to retire from the charter business.

Today the couple manage the business along with their son Max Allen Jnr.

After obtaining their whale watching tour permit last year, Mr Allen said people were still surprised at the availability of the service.

"(Whale watching) is an extra thing people can do up here. It saves them going down south to Hervey Bay," he said.

"Sometimes you can see the whales here equally as good.

"It's a great family cruise. With our three-storey high Freedom Flyer, we've got a 360 degree viewing on the top sun deck."

The very first boat Freedom Fast Cats first boat, Freedom Flyer, in action early on in the years.
The very first boat Freedom Fast Cats first boat, Freedom Flyer, in action early on in the years. Contributed

Go Whale Watching

  • Trips run from 9.30am-12.30pm every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
  • To book ring 49336888.
  • The trips also involve a stop at one of the Keppel Islands before returning via ferry.
  • Each booking includes 10 per cent off lunch at Waterline Restaurant at Keppel Bay Marina.


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