Nala lifting her calf (above) and (right) showing her tail fluke, which is used to identify her. Whale tail markings are unique to each whale, much like the human fingerprint.
Nala lifting her calf (above) and (right) showing her tail fluke, which is used to identify her. Whale tail markings are unique to each whale, much like the human fingerprint.

Meeting our famous whale

FOR THOSE of you who are not aware, Nala is Hervey Bay’s icon whale.

She was adopted by the then-Hervey Bay City Council in 2005 and has been sighted by the Franklins in Hervey Bay more than 50 times in the past 18 years.

Each year, she is the most anticipated visitor with whale- watch operators waiting with bated breath for her safe return.

We had sighted a calf with quite a protective mother and after watching them surfacing together for about five minutes, Wally made the exciting announcement that he thought this whale could be Nala.

Only the day before, I sat on the front of the boat wondering if she would return safely this year and if anyone would see her.

With the amount of whales that pass through the Bay, it wouldn’t be hard for them to remain undiscovered.

To think that we could be looking at her was incredibly exhilarating.

Wally couldn’t confirm it was her until she revealed her fluke – her unique fingerprint.

Every time she lifted her tail slightly we held our breath, but she didn’t fully extend her tail – she wasn’t giving herself up that easily!

She had two interested males trying to get her attention as she nurtured her calf.

After about 10 minutes, we lost sight of her and we were all pretty devastated.

For the next few hours, Wally tried to find her again and we were all on the lookout for the whale we thought to be Hervey Bay’s most famous.

Finally we caught sight of her again – and she revealed her famous fluke!

Wally confirmed it was her, and sent a radio call to the whale-watch operators to let them know she had been sighted.

We all clapped and cheered with excitement.

I couldn’t believe it – I was on board for an encounter with the whale I’d only dreamt I would ever see.

It was so exciting, words cannot describe it.

After the word was out, the calls over the radio didn’t stop for the rest of the day: “Wally, is it true? Have you found Nala?”

The excitement was contagious.

Nala had a beautiful female calf, estimated to be around three weeks old.

The calf was curious and playful, and Nala showed her good mothering skills keeping her a safe distance from the boat and the male suitors. 



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