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The Oceania Project, established in 1988, is a Not-for-profit, Research and Information organisation
dedicated to Raising Awareness about Cetacea (Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises) and the Ocean Environment.
Participate in the Annual Whale Research Expedition and visit our shop Welcome.

Where is the study located?Edit

Hervey Bay is formed by Fraser Island and mainland Australia and is located off the south-east coast of Queensland, about 300 km north of the states capital, Brisbane.

Fraser Island is just below the Great Barrier Reef and extends in a north easterly direction away from the coastline of Australia. It's northern end almost reaches the edge of the continental shelf.

On their northwards migration the humpback whales travel along the eastern side of Fraser Island, rounding Great Sandy spit and heading northeast towards the calm warm waters of the southern and central regions of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Humpback Whales begin moving south from the Great Barrier Reef region in early August traveling southward along the Great Barrier Reef Islands. This route provides the whales direct access to Hervey Bay, which offers a natural haven before they begin the long trek to Antarctica.

How to Participate in the Research ExpeditionEdit

  • First carefully read all the information on this page and the Costs and Conditions page.
  • Decide the Joining date/s for the week/s you wish to participate.
  • Determine the Category of Participation for which you are eligible.
  • Complete and forward the Registration Form with full payment or a deposit.
  • Download the joining information which covers:
    • Daily tasks.
    • What you need to bring.
    • How to get to Hervey Bay.
    • Where to find the Expedition vessel 'Moon Dancer'.
    • Contact Information.

Please read the joining information thoroughly prior to boarding.----

Expedition TimingEdit

  • The 2010 Whale Research Expedition is planned to commence on Sunday August 15th 2010 and operates for seven weeks to Friday 1st October 2010.
  • Participation is for 5 nights/ 6 days (Sunday to Friday) each week for one or multiple weeks.
  • Fieldwork aboard 'Moon Dancer' is within Hervey Bay is planned for Sunday to Friday each week. The schedule is:
    • Depart Urangan Boat Harbour at 8.00am each Sunday morning (Boarding time is 0730).
    • Return to Urangan Harbour 2.30pm each Friday afternoon

IMPORTANT NOTE: Actual operating days within Hervey Bay are subject to weather and operational conditions. If weather does not permit research activities to be safely conducted we anchor at a suitable safe location. Depending upon the weather we may return to or remain in Urangan Boat Harbour, until weather conditions permit safe research activities. Wind in excess of 20 knots from the north or west creates unsafe conditions within Hervey Bay.----

Joining DatesEdit

The joining dates for 2010 are Sunday:

August 15 (Waitlist), 22 (Waitlist), 29. September 5, 12, 19, 26. October 3, 10. IMPORTANT NOTE:(Waitlist) means that all places are fully registered on the trip and availability is subject to cancellations. A minimum of three Intern Participants are required each week. Boarding time is 0730 Sunday morning.

Please Register me as an Intern Participant on
The Oceania Project's
21st Whale Research Expedition in 2010.

The Oceania Project's Internship ProgramEdit

Stepping aboard the expedition vessel 'Moon Dancer' as a participant in the Internship Program, you realise you have become part of a humpback whale research team dedicated to furthering our understanding of these incredible creatures.

Work begins the moment you step aboard Sunday morning. Firstly, you will get to meet the other members of the research team. Following the safety and operational briefings, you will participate in planning the week's rosters and assist the crew in getting ready for departure from Urangan Boat Harbour.

Upon leaving the harbour, the most immediate sensation you will encounter is the constant movement of the Expedition vessel. However, like the whales, you will deftly adapt to the rhythms and movements of the ocean.

Within two hours of leaving Harbour at 0800 Sunday morning, we will be within the study area looking out for our first pod of humpbacks.

We can work with up to 14 individual humpbacks each day. You may find yourself rostered on assisting with pod observations, sloughed skin collection, recording GIS spatial data, water quality sampling, environmental readings, or on the 'Chef 'or galley roster. Rosters are rotated so everyone gets to participate in all tasks and activites involved with a successful Expedition.

The primary focus of the Photo ID work is to obtain information to enable us to recognise individual whales. Thus, we carefully look at individual markings and try to associate specific under side flukes with dorsals. All eyes are needed to determine how many individuals there are in a pod.

We also observe and record the behaviour occurring amongst the individuals in the pod. Observing a mother feeding a calf requires patience. In the case of highly active competitive pods it is important to work out which individual is the 'nuclear whale' - or centre of attention, and which individuals are primary or secondary escorts.

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