30 years and counting for devoted whale watcher
NOT only are whales a staple of the Fraser Coast tourism industry, the creatures of the deep have forged bonds between those fascinated by them which span decades.
With his young son in tow, Dave Littlejohn first stepped on a whale watching charter boat in the September school holidays of 1989.
It has been exactly 30 years since he fell in love with the magic of Hervey Bay's whale visitors and he hasn't missed a season yet.
The 68-year-old Victorian man with a keen interest in photography still remembers the ecstasy of catching the black outlines of breaches on film which was revolutionised with digital cameras.
"It's just magic, it's like an obsession," he told the Chronicle after stepping off a boat on Wednesday.
"When I first started going there were 18 boats operating and my first trip was on The Princess. I settled with Seaspray for 15 years until it stopped operating and have been with Tasman Venture ever since.
"One of my favourite memories would actually have to be last year when I snapped a photograph of a rare double breach.
"Every season I go out on the boats about 25-30 times depending on the weather, sometimes I go twice a day."
After his son - now 32 - grew up, the retired federal government public servant and his wife kept coming back to Hervey Bay from his home in Glen Waverley.
It was on the deck of Tasman Venture where Mr Littlejohn met Jo Douglas, 72, from the Hunter Valley and the two became fast friends over their love of whales.
"I'm on my 20th year coming to Hervey Bay," she said.
"It's just so addictive, I am fascinated by them and they seem fascinated by us.
"I still get excited every time we are mugged."
Both Ms Douglas and Mr Littlejohn proudly wear rings and necklaces decorated with whales.