Whales for Everyone

Sharing the Humpback Whale Watch experience with everyone

No matter what your ability, you can enjoy a Humpback Whale experience with Whalesong Cruises.

As an extension to being a wheelchair accessible vessel, Bec and Doug wanted to go that step further and encourage inclusivity in different ways from 2021 onwards.  What started as a small idea, has evolved and positively impacted the local community is so many ways.  We began with the VR Whale watching - Whalesong took the whales to people who couldn't visit them.  Whalesong is now providing opportunities for NDIS participants whose life goals are to get out into the community and feel liked a valued member of the community.  Accompanied by a carer/support worker, the participant comes on the boat and is 'crew for a day'. 

More details below...

From little things, big things grow and grow...

Whalesong Cruises Hervey Bay Whales for Everyone inclusive practices

 

VR Whale Watching

Bec and Doug, and the entire Whalesong team, believe tourism should be accessible to everyone, no matter what their (dis)ability is.  We also understand that not everyone can get out on a boat.  It’s unfortunate that many won’t get to enjoy what an incredible experience whale watching in Hervey Bay - it's a life changing experience for many on board Whalesong.  Hence, the idea of taking the whales to those who cannot come to see them; Bec's brain clicking into overdrive and creating a virtual whale watching experience.

We now have some awesome 360 deg video footage of our cruise and some whale action.  Simply insert into the VR headset and it’s like you’re on the boat…watching whales…without having to leave your wheelchair – and less chance of seasickness.  It is perfect for taking the whales to people, who can’t visit them.

There’s so much more to tell. At this stage though, all we can say is, we are just getting started. We’ve already visited 5 aged care facilities in Hervey Bay, the PCYC Hervey Bay Youth Program and will soon be heading into some respite centres. The visits have all been so successful and well received! The plan is to make this into a larger program for everyone to enjoy on a regular basis.

It’s such a beautiful project. Seeing the reactions to the whales and the experience, in general, has been extremely heart warming.

Whalesong Cruises Hervey Bay whales for everyone masters lodge compilation

At some point, we’ll be making the headsets available in our Marina office for a try-before-you-buy experience.  This’ll be great for those who aren’t sure about whale watching and also for those who simply don’t want to (or can’t go out) on the boat.

In the meantime, we’re going to keep sharing in this beautiful community of ours.

If you're not in Hervey Bay, or can't get here especially due to COVID restrictions and border lockdowns, check out the 360 degree video playlist on our YouTube Channel.  There are so many great experiences on here and will give you a taste of humpback whale watching in Hervey Bay.

 

Crew for a day

Whalesong won the 2021 Community Spirit Award at the Fraser Coast Ability Awards in early September 2021.  At the Awards ceremony and presentation, Bec met some inspirational people who are doing selfless things in the community and making positive change.  The Awards were filled with genuine joy and excitement...it was an incredibly moving and memorable experience for our fearless leader.  Also, at her table, there were a few NDIS participants and their support workers.  This is when Bec met Jimmy.

Jimmy is an avid photographer, loves working with people and wants to give anything and everything a go.  He's as keen and positive as they come.  Unfortunately, due to his disabilities (like many others out there), his opportunities are limited and it can be difficult to find meaningful work in the community.  One of Jimmy's goals he set out when he joined as an NDIS participant, was to be more active in the community.  Cue, Bec's brain clicking into overdrive again and the creation of 'Crew for a day'.

Whalesong Cruises Hervey Bay inclusivity practices with NDIS participant Jimmy

 

Accompanied by a support worker, an NDIS participant is given the opportunity to work on the boat with the crew for a cruise.  They do not replace the existing crew, they are supplementary and learn from our crew.  From tying ropes, securing the gate and serving/interacting with our guests, they're learning how to be a crew member on Whalesong.  Our crew are loving it too.  Here's what Rosie had to say...

He was and absolute joy to have on the boat.  He helped out so much and he thoroughly enjoyed himself.  Would have him again.

It's a WIN-WIN for everyone.  Whalesong guests enjoy having an extra level of customer service on board, the crew get to practice their training and leadership skills and the NDIS participant gets to fulfil their goal and contribute positively to the community, all the while learning something new and contributing to their work experience.  With more and more participants interested in this experience, we know this part of the Whales for Everyone program with grow and grow also.  Please contact us on info@whalesong.com.au to find out how Whalesong can help NDIS participants achieve their goals of community involvement.

 

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