Ed Petrie

All Under The Place – 2 Nov, Eden, Australia

Had breakfast in the car park of our motel, which was perched on a hill overlooking the bay by the old whaling town of Eden. Today was the day of the Eden Whale Festival, where they celebrate the benefits that whales have brought to their community, firstly through hunting and now through whale spotting tourism. Iain and I were there to compete in the capstan pull, where teams of people attempt to haul a car decorated like a whale up a slope. But first we wanted to catch a glimpse of the creatures themselves, so we set off on a whale spotting boat.

Our cameraman had been slightly worried about today, as whales are notoriously difficult to shoot. By the time they’ve popped up and got a lungful of air you’ve usually only just swung your camera towards them, by which time they’re already on their way down again. After a slow start our skipper managed to find a pod of humpback whales and Iain and I made all sorts of involuntary noises as they came to the surface to shoot water out of their blow holes, flicking their tails up out of the water as they dived back down again. Some of them were larger than our boat. On three occasions they gave us the full David Attenborough treatment, breaching out of the water and crashing back down with an almighty splash. Luckily we managed to catch one of these on camera, which will hopefully make sense of my gibbering reaction.

Once we were back on dry land we had a stroll round the festival, which had quite a village fete feel about it, before being introduced to our teams of Scouts who helped us winch “Benny the Blue Whale” up the slipway. Iain’s team beat mine by 3 seconds, and then it was time to hop in the car for the big drive back to Canberra over the Great Dividing Range. Somehow managed to find the energy in the evening to go clubbing at Canberra’s best nightclub, The Academy. Although to be fair, it’s not hard to be Canberra’s best nightclub, as there’s only one. The Academy.

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