PADDLING out for the whales has become a yearly family tradition for Cheryl and Rachael Virgo.

The mother-daughter pair, who have lived in Hervey Bay for about 11 years, were rocking their signature pink flamingo and unicorn on the water at yesterday morning's Paddle Out for the Whales.

Paddle out for the Whales, Hervey Bay - Rachael Virgo.
Paddle out for the Whales, Hervey Bay - Rachael Virgo. Valerie Horton

She was one of dozens of paddlers from across the region who rocked up to Scarness Beach bright and early for the paddle.

A minute of silence is traditionally held on the water out of respect for the whales hunted and killed over the years.

Ms Virgo, who has participated in the event for the last five years, said there was a sense of "reverence" with this year's event.

"You just get a real feeling of awe, knowing these creatures choose to come here, of all places," Ms Virgo said.

Ms Virgo said the Paddle Out remains one of the signature events for the Fraser Coast, drawing comparisons to other international festivals.

"In Germany you participate in activities like dances and festivals, and in England with the Changing of the Guard; this is our festival, because we're a beach and coastal community," she said.

"This is our culture."

The annual event commemorates the humpback whales that make seasonal visits to the region and encourages conservation.

Fraser Coast Tourism and Events marketing manager Bradley Nardi said the event aims to showcase the importance of the ocean and its integration into the Fraser Coast lifestyle



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