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A SPYHOPPING whale checks out guests on the Tangalooma Jet off Moreton Island.

Spyhopping whale stuns tourists off boat

News Corp Australia

IT'S the photo every whale watcher dreams of.

A whale launches itself out of the water, right in front of the boat, to stare you in the eye.

They're called spyhops - when a whale pops its head out of the water to see what's happening above the surface.

It's gives you the rare chance to stare directly into the eyes of these beautiful beasts of the sea, just for a moment.

On Wednesday, off Moreton Island, these curious creatures of the deep came up very close and personal to guests on the Tangalooma Jet, performing spyhops on each side.

Brisbane's whale watching season kicked off earlier this month with more than 33,000 whales expected to pass by Moreton Island during the migration this season - up 10% from last year.

In recent days, Tangalooma Island Resort has swelled with not only its normal whale watching guests but tourists from P&O cruise ships which came to stay and play for the day.

A SPYHOPPING whale checks out guests on the Tangalooma Jet off Moreton Island.
A SPYHOPPING whale checks out guests on the Tangalooma Jet off Moreton Island.

During the season, Tangalooma will cater for about 16,000 guests on more than 100 whale watching cruises.

We checked out the action on the weekend - and it was non-stop from the time we went out from the island to our destination to our return voyage.

While we didn't see the sort of breaches that guests saw on Wednesday, we were treated to some very close encounters by the curious whales.

One came up to the very front of the boat, surfacing just metres from the front of the boat, while pods of three whales entertained from about 100 metres out with everything from blows to cresting.

Those with sharp vision could see big splashes of water on the horizon and even as we returned back to the island we were treated to a range of whale behaviours from tail slapping to peck slaps.

The commentary on boat the Tangalooma Jet was exceptional with detailed, and very animated descriptions, of what the whales were doing, along with the history of Moreton Island.

Think of it like a State of Origin call for whales.

Whale watching off Tangalooma Island Resort on Moreton Island, an hour from Brisbane.
Whale watching off Tangalooma Island Resort on Moreton Island, an hour from Brisbane. Mark Furler

Moreton Island, the third largest sand island behind Fraser Island and Stradbroke, was once home to the largest whaling station in the southern hemisphere.

But for the past 31 years, whale watching tours have been the biggest tourist drawcard, along with the opportunity to feed wild dolphins - all in the same day.

 

Whale watching off Tangalooma Island Resort on Moreton Island, an hour from Brisbane.
Whale watching off Tangalooma Island Resort on Moreton Island, an hour from Brisbane. Mark Furler

Tangalooma Island Resort also offers quad bike tours and exceptional opportunities to snorkel through hundreds of fish off the wrecks in crystal clear water.

The Tangalooma Jet is 40 metres long and can cater for 380 guests but fortunately numbers are capped at 180 to ensure everyone, even small kids, get a view of the action from one of the decks.

This year, for the third year running, the resort is partnering with The Kids Cancer Project to donate $5 from every whale sighted from the Tangalooma Jet during the 2018 season.

The whale watching package, which includes a light lunch, starts from $129 for adults and $89 for children and includes a beautiful ride along the sandy shores of Moreton Island, including the historic lighthouse.

For more information, including on overnight stay packages, check out www.tangalooma.com