Hervey Bay’s “mother” humpback Nala breaches the water, and (inset) with her new calf performing a customary wave.
Hervey Bay’s “mother” humpback Nala breaches the water, and (inset) with her new calf performing a customary wave. Tasman Venture

Mother humpbacks here

NALA, the Fraser Coast's "mother" humpback whale who has visited Hervey Bay each year since 1992, is again making her maternal splash in local waters.

As if to coincide with the stunning spring weather that has blessed holiday makers in the region, the queen of the Bay has timed her visit just right.

Vicki Neville, from whale watching vessel Tasman Venture, said the crowd-pleaser greeted her audience for the first time in 2012 with her now customary wave.

"Nala is recognised by her tail. Most mums when they're feeding their calf do so below the surface of the water, when they are horizontal, squirting milk to the calf," Ms Neville said.

"Whereas Nala is called a tail-up feeder; she is actually vertical and her big tail rises up out of the water as she is feeding the calf."

It is the 10th documented visit of the iconic mammal with calf to the Fraser Coast since 1992 and, in keeping with tradition, our favourite guest's newborn needs to be named.

Oceania Project whale researchers Wally and Trish Franklin, together with Tasman Venture, are inviting local people to come up with an indigenous name they believe is right for the months-old calf.

Nala's most previous offspring received the indigenous title Mirrhi - meaning little girl - when she last visited in 2010.

Ms Neville said Tasman Venture would offer a whale watch trip for two adults to be used in 2012 for the person who comes up with the best name. It must be a unisex title as researchers are still determining the calf's sex.

Send your entries to mitch.crawley@frasercoast chronicle.com.au



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