WHALE WATCH: Glen Preston and Donna Fornasiero of Thunderbird1 prepare to spot some Whitsunday Whales this week.
WHALE WATCH: Glen Preston and Donna Fornasiero of Thunderbird1 prepare to spot some Whitsunday Whales this week. Peter Carruthers

Have a Whitsunday whale of a time aboard Thunderbird 1

WHALE watching in the Whitsundays is the type of awe-inspiring encounter that must be experienced to be believed, memories of which will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Now, for the first time in the Whitsundays, whale watchers can take a unique tour on Thunderbird1, a vessel that runs on used cooking oil for fuel instead of the traditional petroleum-based diesel or petrol, resulting in net zero CO2 emissions which are the cause of climate change, global warming, damage to the reef, coral bleaching and the environment in general.

For every one litre of petrol or diesel burned it produces approximately 2.5 kilograms of CO2. Thunderbird1 produces none!

The German manufactured, FRB or fast rescue boat was formally the open ocean rescue vessel aboard the Spirit of Tasmania 1, but now allows locals and tourists to get up close and personal with the whales in the Whitsunday islands.

The experience is made even more amazing using a custom-made hydrophone, an underwater microphone and wireless headphones, which allows passengers to hear the male whale song and communications between mother whales and their calves in crystal clear sound.

Glen Doreian (Doc), is the owner and inspiration behind Whale Watching Whitsundays and Thunderbird1, said that Thunderbird1 provided "the ultimate interactive carbon neutral tour”, with a true connection between guest and mammal, while still caring for the environment.

"You're watching the bulls' fin and fluke slapping, displays of breaching attracting the females while you're also listening to them live singing to attract them for mating,” Glen explained.

"It's just amazing. It gives you goose bumps and makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Some of our guests even shed tears it's such an emotional experience.

"You're really up close and personal with the whales. We strictly stick to the rules set out by GBRMPA for whale watching, but whales are inquisitive, especially the calves and sometimes they come right up to the boat to do some 'human watching'.”

Passengers can even be on the forefront of science and the study of Humpback Whales simply by taking a tour. Whale Watching Whitsundays has been helping GRUMPA and Southern Cross University study humpbacks by submitting sightings, data and photographs of whale sightings. "We've been seeing some undocumented whale behaviour as part of this study,” Glen said.

"It was thought they didn't feed from the time they left the Antarctic to when they went back, but we have seen this behaviour on our tours”

To top it off, a 360-degree 4K camera on board captures all the wonder and action of the tour in high definition which is edited into highlights which are posted on the Whale Watching Whitsundays web page and Facebook page along with whale song recordings and photos.

Passengers are also encouraged to fill in an observation form and submit their photos to Southern Cross University online and are able to identify and track a whale simply by the markings on its fluke or tail by using their software.

Glen said there was no better time to get out on the water and experience the wonder of the Whitsunday whales.

Whale watching tours on Thunderbird1 can be booked on the Whale Watching Whitsundays website.


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