Migaloo could pass coast this weekend
HE IS as much of a local celebrity as the Hemsworths, and his brief appearances always draw whale-watchers to the coast, all desperate to catch a glimpse.
It's Migaloo, and Seaplane pilot Peter Gash reportedly spotted a white whale, thought to be the famous albino humpback whale, off Hat Head, near Kempsey on Thursday afternoon.
Humpback whales swim on average 150 kilometres per day, meaning the famous white whale could pass us on the North Coast as early as tonight.
Following the sighting yesterday afternoon, whale-watchers flocked to the Coffs Coast trying to catch a glimpse of the ghost-like creature, but no sightings have been reported.
Each year whale-watchers and photographers try to capture an image of the whale, made difficult by the fact the creature is is not only hard to spot but notoriously unpredictable in behaviour.
However Byron Bay photographer Sean O'Shea was one of the lucky ones last year, capturing stunning images of the white whale off Cape Byron in July 2018.
Mr O'Shea said the experience was "life changing” and that the crew wasn't even looking for Migaloo specifically.
"It was a chance in a million, the most breathtaking and moving experience,” he said.
Southern Cross University whale researcher Dr Wally Franklin, who first met Migaloo in 1992, cautioned the importance of vessels and whale-watchers to not approach him any closer than 500m.
There are also strict rules in place to stop helicopters, charter boats and drones from getting too close.
"It's very important to give Migaloo plenty of space and if vessels do approach him they must leave at least 500m,” Dr Franklin said.
"Only approach from his left or right flank, never from directly astern or ahead of him as that could interrupt his behaviour and migratory patterns.”