Year 10 – Work Experience

Hi, our names are Chloe and Mikayla from Riverside Christian College, and we are currently undertaking our year 10 Work experience with Whalesong Cruises. As part of our year 10 curriculum our whole year 10 cohort was told to find somewhere that we would like to work at for a week. We decided to enquire about a placement on a whale watching boat as we both have a keen interest in marine biology and hope to study it once we leave school. For us the ocean makes us feel at home and we love the feeling of looking out into the open blue ocean. We could see ourselves gaining work in this line of employment and loving what we do. As they say ‘if you love what you do it won’t feel like work. When we were in biology and received our confirmation email saying that we had gained placement with Whalesong cruises we were over the moon. I mean who wouldn’t be?

Chloe- Ever since I was a little girl I have had a science brain, loved the water and all the animals in it, especially dolphins. A few years back I had no idea what I wanted to be when I left school and was feeling lost. My family and I had gone on a trip to sea world and as I was watching the dolphin show I had an epiphany. I could do marine biology. So here I am today, year 10 and getting a glimpse of what it would be like to live my dream.

Mikayla- For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to work with animals I when
from vet to zookeeper for about 6 years. Just at the start of 2021 I moved away from the beach up to Maryborough and I realized that I had such a strong connection with the ocean and that’s when understood I wanted to spend the rest of my life helping the marine life (especially Manta Rays) and the best why I could do what I love and protect what I love was to become a marine biologist.

The night before our first day we were overrun with nervocited (nervous, excited) emotions. We didn’t know what to expect when embarking on this adventure. I guess we were just hoping to discover what it was like to work in our chosen profession, and we must say we can’t wait for our future. We know that if we put in the hard work, we will be able to achieve our goals.

On Monday the 11 of July, we were lucky enough to go out on the boat with two of the crew members Aaron and Celine as well as our Skipper, Rick (Grinner). They showed us what it is like to work on a whale watching boat and outlined a few of the many things that this job entails. These included practicing our customer service skills, when asking our costumers if they would like any hot drinks. We also learnt this this job isn’t all work and no play. We were able to experience the graceful and majestic whales up close and personnel when they came right to the boat. We also saw some dolphins and a turtle.

Whilst on the boat we learnt that the whales had great hearing and eyesight. This meant
that to attract the whales we had to call out and wave at them. When doing the this the
whales would be more likely to come over to our boat and have a look. This encouraged 3
different whales to come right up to the boat and say hello to us. There was also a 5-year-old whale that put on a show of rolling over and showing us its white stomach and diving under the boat to appear on the other side.

As we all know the tour is well known for finding the whales out in the open ocean so our skipper Rick (Grinner) would always engage the customers with some fun facts these
graceful giants we know as whales. Some of these interesting facts would include: 
 Even though there has not been much research performed on the whales it is
believed that the reason they breech it to get rid of anything that might irritate them
such as lice or barbicels, it could also be to attract a partner or because they like the sensation of gravity. 
 That the pacific humpback whales which are the whales that come down to Hervey
Bay they have a white stomach and a black back. 
 They mostly feed on krill on the surface of the ocean they have brush like bristles for teeth called bristly baleen plates filter, sift, sieve or trap. 
 They are called humpback whales because the distinctive hump on its back. And how
they leap out of the water arcing there back. 
 Its long pectoral fins inspired its scientific name, Megaptera, which means “big-
 They come out to the warm sheltered waters of Hervey Bay offer a haven to young
whales, pregnant females, and mother/calf pods before they begin their long
journey to their Antarctic feeding grounds. The bay is also an important area for
social interaction. 
 The average length of an adult whale 16 meters and with a weight ranging from 25
to 30 metric tons. 
However, there is much more to these animals that these 7 fun facts: 
 These playful creatures live off their blubber in the colder months, only hunting in
 They organise hunting group techniques and have been known to play with and
protect other species such as dolphins, seals, smaller whales, and humans. 
 There is some scientific evidence to suggest that these whales may be able to
recognise and remember certain humans and other species.   
 Humpback calves interact with their mothers by brushing fins and whispering. 
 Before 1996, the Humpback whale population fell by 90%, after being hunted so
 Humpback whales sing the same song, specific to their location. This song changes
over the years and is never the same as it was before. 
 Due to bans on whaling, humpback whales have increased in number and are not
considered endangered. However, individual humpbacks are still threatened by ship
collisions, fishing gear, and noise pollution. 

Another great aspect of Whalesong cruises was how they accommodated for everyone.
With their wide decks it made it easier for everyone to follow the whales as they swam from one end to another. It allowed everyone on the boat to see the whales and everyone got in with their cameras. As we watched the passengers run from the front of the boat to the back of it, we were thankful that the boat kept its balance and did not tip. We loved watching the passengers face light up every time they whales came around. They fed off the Skippers energy and love for his job and called out to the whales, waving them over.

Before heading back to lend we came across a few whales that were breaching and showing
us ‘the big splash’ as some of the customers called it. The whales also showed us some
Peduncle throws. This was when the whale lifts its peduncle and tail out of the water and throws their tails sideways, slamming them into the water with a big splash.
After returning to land, we provided the customers with some leftover bread from lunch
and took them to feed some fish in the marina. Once we thanked our customers and
Skipper, we helped the other crew members to clean the boat.

This was an experience that we will never forget. Thank you Whalesong cruises for giving us this opportunity to have a glimpse into what our future might entail. What a great way to miss out on school for a week but still learn new things every day. We have missed out on maths, English, selected electives, history and science but I am sure we can catch up in no time. We are smart enough 🙂