A few key points to consider before we head off on the day.

Remember, any time you are out on the water the weather can change quickly! We recommend that regardless of the weather forecast you always bring a rain jacket, sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. Wear comfortable shoes. Its not fun walking in those beautiful high heels on a moving boat deck! Regardless of how good the shoes look, you run the risk of looking less than steady on your feet! Think and plan ahead and give us the best chance to make sure we can do our thing to make sure you enjoy your time with us to the max!

How Intelligent are Humpback Whales?

Although we cannot get close enough to Humpback whales to see if we can teach or train them like other animals such as dogs. Or for instance how we can teach birds to talk, and dolphins and seals to do tricks. We know monkeys able very much able to learn. All of that aside, we do think Whales are smart because of what we do know of them: –

1. Humpback Whales have large brains

Whales, (Sperm Whale) not people, have the biggest brains of any animal on earth.

The adult sperm whale brain is 8,000 cubic centimetres. Our brain is about 1300 cubic centimetres.

Scientists compared a humpback whale brain with brains from several other cetacean species and found the presence of a certain type of neuron cell that is also found in humans.

They found that the humpback cerebral cortex, the part of the brain where thought processes take place, was similar in complexity to animals such as dolphins.

2. Humpback Whales communicate really well through their body language

It is believed that whale communication is one of the most sophisticated forms of communication among all animal species.

Whales use their body language and display behaviours to communicate their wants, needs and intentions to each other.  Breaching, tail slapping and the like are all signs of playfulness or communicating to other whales that there is danger.

Gestures show compassion, nurture, dominance and curiosity. Whales have been observed lightly rubbing against or bumping other whales in their pod.

These light physical gestures are believed to be a form of nurture or intimacy among whales and can sometimes be seen when a mother is caring for her young or when two adult whales are performing a mating.

3. Humpback Whales can actually show emotion

Much like humans, whales are playful. This can often be seen when they breach for a group of humans who are whale watching. Are whales smart enough to perform on cue? Well, it can look like they are showing off!  They can also often be seen touching and nurturing their babies or a mate in a gentle way.

Evidence suggests that whales have a complex brain structure for complex function, that they often live in complex societies, that they are capable of experiencing a range of emotions.

4. Humpback Whales can sing

Only male humpbacks sing.  Both males and females communicate by sound.

They have at least 34 different variations of sounds to communicate. Many of the sounds are of very low frequency and are out of our range. These sounds travel kilometres underwater, and can be heard above the surface as well. Each type of sound means something different and they amazingly understand each other.

Whale songs evolve throughout the mating season and each year the song is a little different.  As the theme changes the group pick up and incorporate this into the current sequence. This is one of the mysteries of the animal world.

Humpback whales sing as they are travelling along the Australian coastline.  It was originally thought that they were stationary when singing but this is not the case.

5. Humpback Whales protect & save other species

Scientists are noticing that humpback whales are going out of their way to save other marine species from orcas.  They are not sure if it is intentional or an unselfish act brought on by self-interest.  Some scientists have witnessed humpbacks intervening in orca hunts to save other mammals many times – 115 to date to be exact – that they now suggest the protective behaviour could be ingrained in the whales, though no one is completely sure why.

Scientists are still a long way from understanding these magnificent creatures.

Closer to home: –Humpbacks and high-Rises is an independent not for profit research organisation dedicated to the research and protection of whales and dolphins in south-east Queensland, Australia. We focus our research and adaptation strategies on coastal impacts caused by urbanisation for the benefits of marine mammals and our coastal community. 

 

 

The first Humpback whales have been sighted, on their way north to the Sunshine Coast!

Whale Watching out of Mooloolaba, on the Sunshine Coast, approximately one hour north of Brisbane, is rapidly becoming the go-to-place to interact with Humpback whales.  It offers several different types of whale watching options. Mooloolaba in particular caters from attracting the masses on Whale One to the intimate, small group options offered by us at Sunshine Coast Afloat.  And of course it is also the hub of “swimming with the whales” with Sunreef Mooloolaba.  There are just so many options to choose from, all so close to Brisbane.

Our trips are based on the experience we work hard on to be able to give our guests. Small passenger numbers with almost everything included in the price. The complete goal is to provide extremely intimate, almost private, tours with personalised service. The small passenger numbers enables us to ensure all customers always enjoy rail-side viewing of the whales, and of course other marine life.

At Sunshine Coast Afloat we offer two different ways to experience the thrill of whale watching:

  1. a relaxing cruise with no more than 22 other passengers on one of the largest charter vessels on the Sunshine Coast,
  2. or if you are more inclined for fast and exhilarating fun, head out on Hela-Va Jet which only takes 10 people.

2016 was an amazing whale watching season. So much so that we are now all anxiously awaiting the arrival of the whales here on the Sunshine Coast this year. A few have already been spotted in NSW, and given that, it will be only a few weeks before we will start to see them up here. In very small numbers at first, but it is always so special to see the first, obviously keen, whales heading North! For us these first whales are almost always spotted on our deep sea fishing charter trips. They certainly add a lot of excitement to the lucky passengers aboard on those trips! One mind-blowingly amazing trip, which the whales made unbelievably special, in 2016 was an ashes scattering ceremony. A ver special and emotional send off I am sure the family will always remember with great fondness because of the whales presence that day!

Two large Humpback Whales playing alongside Crusader 1
Whale Watching action on Crusader 1 in 2016

In the past five years, the number of humpback whales making the journey north from their feeding grounds in Antarctica to the warmer tropical waters of the Pacific to breed has risen from 18,000 to more than 22,000. It is estimated that we are looking at around 25,000 humpbacks this year. More whales mean more pods travelling closer together, more social interactions, antics and action for us to all see and enjoy.

Humpback whales travel from their feeding grounds in Antarctica, past New Zealand, through the Tasman Sea, towards Sydney and up to north Queensland where they begin popping up for people to see. This round-trip is about 12,000 kilometres. The Humpback whales migrate north between May and August.  The whales and calves then make the return journey south between August and November.  The best time to see these majestic creatures off the Sunshine Coast is between July to end of October. The warmer waters allow juveniles, who are born without blubber for insulation, to mature before dealing with the icy southern water.

Sunshine Coast Afloat commence our Whale Watching trips once we are confident there are large enough number of whales around. This as we want to make sure, as best we can of course, that this is a whale watching trip and not a “whale searching” trip.  This does mean we start later than, and finish earlier than most other whale watching operators. Other operators usually start in early June, which can be as much as 4 to 6 weeks earlier. Our other charter operation allow us to closely monitor the number of whales sightings on a daily basis. We believe that this is the best way to set a start date. These earl sightings in NSW ma well see us begin a little earlier this ear as well. Fingers crossed! Either wa this blog will always keep you up to date with where we are at.

Some of the interesting facts about these fascinating creatures:

  • The average weight of an adult Humpback whale is 45 tonnes, which is about 1000 children together
  • An average length of 13 to 17 metres which is about 10 adults lying head to foot.
  • The average lifespan is between 45 – 50 years
  • Adult Whales can hold their breath under water for over half an hour
  • An expelled breath or ‘blow’ that reaches a speed of between 300 – 500 kilometres per hour as it exists through the blowhole.
  • The Humpback Whale has two blow holes, one for each lung. Each of its lungs is the size of a small car.
  • Humans identify different whales is by their tails. Each whale has different characteristics, just like our fingerprints!
  • The Humpback Whale has no teeth instead they have baleen plates, that acts like a giant sieve!
  • They also have little or no sense of smell or taste
  • They do have very sensitive skin that is easily sunburned
  • Remarkable eyes with strong muscles that change the shape of the lens so they can see in the air or underwater.
  • Their eye the size of a grapefruit
  • Incredible hearing ranging over many kilometres for navigation, communication and finding food
  • Pectoral fins that are ten times longer than your arm
  • They have a Belly Button as well.
  • Calves that are fed daily over 400 litres of rich milk which is the consistency of condensed cream

START PLANING YOUR WHALE WATCHING EXPERIENCE NOW SO YOU AREN’T DISAPPOINTED.

 We are family owned and operated, but we also ensure our crew are experienced, dedicated and knowledgeable. They enjoy sharing their passion and are always happy to help and give you the best experience possible.

Sound interesting?  Click Here to book or make an enquiry.

 

 

Like the idea of a cruise with a difference?

We hope to, with this blog post explain, why you should have your next adventure with us, at Sunshine Coast Afloat.

Simply put, if you love the sun, salt and sea then look no further than Sunshine Coast Afloat!

For starters, if anyone knows a good time it’s our team! We have extremely experienced guides and state of the art equipment – this combination leads to the ultimate, enjoyable way to see the beautiful Sunshine Coast. Together with this we offer an amazing range of water-based activities, all of which can be modified according to the conditions of the day. And every budget is catered for! We offer deep sea fishing & crabbing charters, whale watching, ocean jet boat thrill rides, bucks and hens parties, guided kayak fishing tours, coastline & canal cruises, water taxi services and much much more!!

To give you a taste of exactly what to expect when booking, we’ve received some great feedback from just one of our amazing recent experiences – A bucks cruise that took place on Saturday 25th March 2017.

The boys that booked this adventure brought along their surfboards, drinks and a massive breakfast cook up – things that are all encouraged when booking with us at Sunshine Coast Afloat. Toby and Rob were the skippers that looked after the boys on this trip. Touring them around Mooloolaba and even taking care of the breakfast cook-up so the boys could make the most of the surf! Each and every party can be catered the way you want, with this one really focusing on the boys and just having the best and most chilled out day possible! They had such a great time they are considering making it an annual outing!!

Cooking a Breakfast Feast on the BBQ on Crusader 1.
Cooking a Breakfast Feast on the BBQ on Crusader 1.

Another great thing about Sunshine Coast Afloat is that if you have an idea, just ask us and we will find a way to make it work! We pride ourselves on finding ways to organise and alter the trip the way you wish; whether that’s bringing your own music, drinks, food ect. We want you to have the most memorable day, so we will go to all lengths to make this happen!

Another recent review after a fishing charter:

“We had an excellent experience with Sunshine Coast Afloat! Not only would we recommend them to others but we would happily go again. The staff were super helpful and happy to chat and get amongst the people. Great knowledge of fish and awesome enthusiasm! Personally what impressed me the most was the attention to safety and the pride they took in keeping the boat clean”

Felicity Tripp 2017 (Google Review).

Sunshine Coast Afloat were the winners of the 2014 Sunshine Coast Business Awards, and runners up in 2015! It was a privilege to receive the top prize and realise our efforts and promises were paying off!

We will do everything possible to ensure you will have an amazing time!

We are getting ready for the 2017 Overnight Fishing trips!

Been thinking about how you could do something very different this winter for your fishing trip? Here at Sunshine Coast Afloat we have been experimenting with 18 hour overnight charters for the last few years. I say experimenting because it does take a lot of effort to get such long trips exactly right. Weather, locations, passenger and crew numbers, departure and return times, even the supplies needed on such trips needed are all key components that we have over that time tweaked, changed and improved upon over that time. The reason for this extreme effort? Because these trips are REALLY SPECIAL. To us as well as our customers! They are the trips we do not want to take any chances on. The trips which we want our customers to know that every aspect has been put under a microscope for, all with the focus of ensuring it is as close to perfect, for them, as any outdoor activity can get to!

One of the additions this year is simple. Advance booking notice to our regular customers and those that have requested the dates when available. That email was sent to everyone a few days ago. On Monday (3rd April) the dates will go live.

Another, much bigger change, is the manner in which we are now using the moon cycles and trip options. Because we have learnt that the weather forecasts HAVE to be stating perfect conditions for these trips (No room for guessing/hoping), which of course means that we have a very large percentage of these trips being cancelled due to weather, We have this year set 4 trips per month. 3 to 4 days before the Full Moon, 3 to 4 days After the Full Moon, and then as a backup, the same time frames for the NEW MOON in the same month. We hope that this will stop the “no charter this month” situation we found ourselves in so often last year. The reality is that we will work on one trip a month still, but have up to 3 alternative time frames in most cases should the weather forecasts not align perfectly for the main dates.

Another major change is the onboard equipment for cooking. We tried a normal marine BBQ – too small. We tried a full size “normal” outdoor BBQ – too unreliable in the conditions out on the ocean. All in all the only real option was to have a custom made marine BBQ. One made for marine conditions, but in a size that allows us to cook for 12 people in comfort and without sacrificing anything!:

 

As well as this, we are in the process of upgrading our fishing tackle (again). Although we will remain loyal to our main gear as supplied by Rapala for the Okuma Reels (overhead and Spin), we have recently started testing the newest releases they have available. So far so good, but these much stronger reels have shown some issues with the rods we have been using for the last 2 years. As such we are currently in the process of testing a higher quality range of rods to make sure that if you wish to use our tackle on any of our trips (you are more than welcome to bring your own on our charters!) you can be assured that you will be using premium gear!

There are a few more changes that both have been made and that are in the process of being made, but more on those in other posts!

Does this type of trip sound interesting? You can find more detail on them here: OVERNIGHT FISHING TRIPS

Want an email on the dates? Just fill in the form on the right hand side of the product page, email us via [email protected] or call us on 0402 625 825  We are here to help!!

 

The Christmas Lights in Mooloolaba are set to shine again!

December is always a magical time of the year in Mooloolaba. So many of the home owners put up amazing Christmas light displays which are only able to be seen from the water. And of course, every year we have the Mooloolaba Boat Parade with many boats all decorated in the Christmas spirit. The river and canals tend to be fully lined with people watching these wonderful displays sailing past them.

At Sunshine Coast Afloat we are almost finished putting our new Christmas lights display on the Jet Boat as well. This year, for the first time, we have entered Hela-Va Jet into the Christmas lights parade as well. We have opened this up to our customers to be part of, so if you want to be aboard one of the vessels in this very special parade, give us a call. We still have seats available!

And of course, we will be running the 1-and-a-half-hour Christmas light cruises every night during December (excluding Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve) as well. Remember, we can get into those smaller canals where larger vessels just cannot go. You really do get to see the very best of these wonderfull displays!

christmas-lights-04

We hope to see you aboard soon!

It seems like a LONG time since we have had truly pleasant conditions on a weekend. For the last 5 months the swell has averaged close to the 1.7m mark and winds have averaged around the 18 knot mark! Tough conditions for anyone heading out deep sea! But the forecast for this weekend looks near perfect for deep sea fishing!! :

Sunshine-Coast-Weather-Forecast-for the 27-Nov-2016

The reason I have only put up Sunday’s forecast is because we are already fully booked on both trips for the Saturday, and I would hate to give anyone a false impression that they could still get a spot on one of those trips. However, as is common this time of year so close to the school holidays, Sundays trip is only half full! Just the one trip at this point. a 5Hr charter in what are forecast to be the best conditions of the entire weekend! I honestly cannot recall the last time I have seen a forecast stating “Smooth seas, and add in just 7 knots of wind!!  Should prove to be a lovely time out on the ocean!

We are heading out, so if you think this sounds like a trip you want to be a part of give us a call or book online ( Click here for the 5Hr page on our site ). We would love to have you aboard!

It’s that time of year again when Spanner Crabbing will be closed from midnight November 20 until midnight December 20th, 2016. We thought it appropriate to tell you a little about Spanner Crabs that may interest you.

The purpose for the closure is to protect the spanner crabs during their breeding season when they are most vulnerable. The closure gives the crabs a chance to spawn and helps replenish crab stocks. Spanner Crabs are also known as the Frog Crab or Red Frog Crab. The first/front legs are “spanner” shaped and the rest are flattened and have numerous short bristles. The spanner crab’s body colour varies from orange to red. Spanner Crabs prefer bare sandy areas.  They remain completely buried in the sand for most of the day, but they emerge rapidly when food appears.  Sharks and turtles feed on spanner crabs. Both often take advantage of crabs being caught in nets.Spanner Crabs are found around most of the Australian coast from NSW north to southern WA. On the East coast of Australia spanner crabs don’t seem to like to go much further south than Coffs Harbour, and they don’t go much further north than 1770, so typically the main area’s are in pristine unpolluted waters from the top end of Fraser Island to Mooloolaba. They are caught commercially, mainly using dillies, but also as a by-catch of Prawn trawling, off southern Queensland and northern NSW. Mooloolaba currently exports Spanner Crab to Japan, China, Hong Kong, and New Zealand.

shannon-and-spanner-crabs

A crab’s growth isn’t continuous, but from a series of moults that happen when it reaches the size of its current shell. Moulting is triggered by hormones. A new ‘cuticle’ (hard protective layer) is secreted under the old shell. The crab rapidly absorbs water, splitting its shell along suture lines, then backs out of the old shell. Substances stored within the crab’s body are rapidly redeposited to harden the new cuticle into a larger shell. The fluid in the body is replaced with meat during a period when the crab feeds voraciously.

Amazing how nature works!  We hope the crabs spawn well and we get a good season next year.

 

The Sunshine Coast Food Trail was launched by famed Sunshine Coast chef, Peter Kuruvita, at an event at Mooloolaba’s Rockliff Seafoods recently.  There local spanner crabs are featured on Peter’s new SBS TV program ‘Coastal Kitchen’. Visit Sunshine Coast have a new interactive website, which we are part of, that enables visitors to create their own personalised food trail taking in the region’s best producers, markets, restaurants, cooking schools, events, wineries and brewers.

allan-johnson-having-spanner-crabscustomers-and-spanner-crabs

 

 

Sunshine Coast Afloat is our new brand name.

The well known, existing brand names – Fish n Crab Deep Sea Charters, Mooloolaba Jet boat and Coastline Cruises will become products moving forward, rather than stand alone brands. The change has been brought about through 2 main drivers.

  1. Social Media. Social Media is a key component of any modern business. It all seems great to have constant updates etc, but when you think about the various social media forums – Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram, Snap chat, Pintrest, LinkedIn etc etc, you start to get a feel for the almost full time job that it is just to keep all of them going for a single business. Imagine that for 3 (Well, 4. See the next point). Add on websites, brochures, advertising, Tourism and business memberships costs and you can imaginer it can quickly become rather overwhelming!
  2. New Product Offering. Guided Kayak Fishing tours is another new addition to our services. Its becoming very apparent that Kayak fishing is not a flash in the pan phenomenon but a true and rapidly growing sport here in Australia. The Sunshine Coast has some of the best estuary fishing for this in Australia, and there is a clear need for the service. We believe that we have been able to put together the best value kayak fishing offering in Australia! Check it out here!

All in all, we are about to bring the next level of marine and water based tourism experiences to the beautiful Sunshine Coast!

Still not content with just offering the same standard trips as you can find pretty much everywhere else, we remain fully focused on making sure that we do things the way you (and we) really want them to be. Fun, adventurous, adrenalin filled or clam and relaxing. Sunshine Coast Afloat is a one stop location where you will be able to choose the activity that suits you perfectly all secure in the knowledge that from the very moment you find us to the the time you get back home you will have been looked after the way you deserve!

Sunshine Coast Afloat – For whatever floats your boat!

And with Sunshine Coast Afloat all direct bookings get a free Rod and Reel to keep!

World wide kayak fishing is growing faster than any other activity!

Commonly referred to a “yak fishing” (who knew the work kayak was too long!) it does take skill and local knowledge to make the best of the advantages yak fishing has to offer. Thats why a guided kayak fishing tour is a great way to head out. The Sunshine Coast estuaries a brimming with all manner of species of fish, in areas motorised boats just cannot get to.

At Sunshine Coast afloat we also want to make sure you not only have a great time, but also the best value for money! As such every direct booking gets a free Kayak style high quality Rod and Reel to keep! Thats a retail value of approximately $200.00 included in your trip for which you are only paying $140.00 !!!!!! We can’t do better than that!!! You walk away with more in value that what you pay for the trip!

Our guides know these waters better than anyone and when you add in the amazing value deal this trip offers you,it will be obvious why only Sunshine Coast Afloat is running guided tours here! Fish the local estuaries, or for the more experienced and adventurous anhers we can, with prior arrangement organise a local dam fishing tour as well! The small additional permit and travel cost are well worth the incredible array and variety of fish available in these controlled waters! Or maybe a different Sunshine Coast body of water has your interest? Let us know and if we can assist we will! Locations such as the Namour river area are a rarely fished location that offer great variety and excellent quantities of fish. Of course the more remote we may need to increase the duration of the tour.