I get seasick and the mere mention of a boat; so being able to see whales from land has always been a wonderful treat for me. Thankfully that’s become a great deal easier with NSW National Parks’ new website and app which try to provide a one-stop-shop for whale sightings.
Wild About Whales is a great idea. A map shows you the latest sightings, which is really useful. It does appear to be dependent upon crowd-sourced contributions so the quality of the information will in turn depend on who makes the effort to submit. In addition there is information on the various whale species, on where to find tours (on a boat, shudder), and on good whale watching spots.
The free app does exactly the same thing. Strangely the map on the app is more user-friendly than the one on the website, which is very cramped unless you deliberately expand it.
This isn’t the sort of app or site you’re going to use every day. But if you have any desire to see whales in season then it’s a great addition to your arsenal. For it to work, though, it’s really going to come entirely down to the quality of the information submitted. On its face it’s not clear if they are getting submissions from the tour operators which would be an obvious way of getting a critical mass of information. Right now there are only two Sydney sightings one from the 1st and one from the 10th of September. It may be that’s the only whale visits we’ve had, but there’s no real way to tell. It would also be useful, for the future, to know if there were whales heading this way so you could plan to go and see them when they got within range.
Overall this is a neat site and app and a good initiative from National Parks. For the sake of my seasickness I’ll be watching it develop and hopefully watching some whales too.
Whales NSWView in ITunes. $free