HHR  - January-March Newsletter 2019
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Humpbacks & High-Rises

Whale Tails 2019/1

This is our quarterly newsletter bringing you a summary of the urban marine mammal world. Facts, Stories and Events. Join us on the largest mammal migration on earth!
Quarter Summary 
Fluke Down! The moment a majestic humpback whale gently glides back in to the water. Collecting detailed behaviour data through our program has revealed important insights.
The beginning of a new era
by Olaf Meynecke

Another season, another year - and all the same again? Not quite. Things are changing at Humpbacks & High-rises. With a new team of dedicated board members and many new supporters we are heading into the biggest and most exciting whale season ever. With HHR research groups forming on the Sunshine Coast and Coffs Harbor, 7 planned HHR research expeditions on the Gold Coast and a number of new and exciting initiatives, we are looking forward to welcome the 2019 whale season. 

And even better, you can be part of it. Sign up as a volunteer, help us build a stronger community of ocean lovers and help change the course to a better future for our oceans.

Our first events of the year were already a great success. We ran a beach clean up at Burleigh Heads for Clean Up Australia Day in early March with over 15 people attending. You can read how many cigarette butts we collected on Clean Up Australia Day in this newsletter. We also joined the Ocean Film Festival with a stall and our team engaged with many visitors informing them about volunteer options and how everyone can make a difference. 

Believe it or not some first Humpback whale sightings were already reported for Western Australia where a whale got entangled in fishing gear and a sighting of a Humpback whale at Port Macquarie. In a few weeks the first whales will be sighted on the Gold Coast.

Are you ready? We are!

Olaf Meynecke
Introducing HHR to visitors on the stage at the annual Ocean Film Festival. 
Ocean Film Festival
by Reggie de Santis

For another year HHR had the pleasure to participate at the Ocean Film Festival World Tour that screened over 2 hours of the most inspirational, educational and entertaining films related to the ocean from independent filmmakers both international and Australian. We were there with our volunteer team on the two nights at the HOTA (Home Of The Arts) on the Gold Coast. Many people came to celebrate the festival and also to stop by our HHR stall for a chat about whales, to volunteer and to buy one of our items to support our work. It was great to be part of this team for another year and enjoying the festival! Many people came to talk to us to find out more about our work! Congratulations to everyone involved, to all volunteers and thank you so much for those who donated for HHR.
Research Expeditions 2019
by Olaf Meynecke

Last year we ran a few dedicated research expeditions on the Gold Coast to help gather data that we can otherwise not get. The trips were very successful and a lot of fun. So, we decided to run more this year. Over 30 people joined us in 2018 and now we are offering at least 5 (hopefully 7) expeditions in the 2019 whale season. Numbers are limited, so make sure to book in early.

You can join world-class research and help protect whales through our Healthy Whales research and monitoring program. Learn about humpback whales and other marine life on the east coast of Australia and visit the fastest growing region in Australia.

You will be able to assist to determine the causes of strandings and skin conditions in response to ocean warming and find ways to determine whale health using new and exciting techniques. You will be helping with the collection of important behaviour data, monitoring data, health assessments and assist with mucous collection and remote aerial surveys. If you want to learn more about the complex life of a humpback whale, this is the best way to do it. We offer an exlusive and unique experience. Nothing like you have seen before.

Expedition dates:

14-16th June 2019
19th-21st July 2019 (might shift to a week earlier or later)
2nd-4th August 2019
16th-18th August 2019
13th-15th September 2019

Book here!
Join our HHR expeditions in 2019 and learn all about our marine life in the bay. 
Clean Up Australia - cleaning up before the whales arrive
By Caitlin Murphy

Clean up Australia Day was a success with 16 volunteers signing up to clean up Burleigh Beach on Sunday the 3rd of March. In a span of just a few hours volunteers were returning with full bags of everything you could imagine and more, with the rubbish collected from the Burleigh sand dunes varying from an array of microplastics to a full 6 pack of alcohol and backpacks totalling an astounding 10 to 12kg of unnecessary waste. 

The most collected item were cigarette butts coming in at over 850 cigarette butts found followed by about 40 plastic straws, 12 cans both full and empty, glass bottles also full and empty including an entire unopened 6 pack, bottle caps, plastic bottles, 9 balloons and single use coffee cups. I also found interesting that at least 15 lollypop sticks were collected that I was not previously on my mind when listing single use plastics. 

We can reduce single plastics in our everyday lives by just changing a few small things at a time. Instead of using that plastic straw opt for paper, most stores are becoming more aware and offering paper instead, or even better grab a reusable straw and create a take-away pack to take with you that includes a reusable straw, cutlery and a keep cup. 

Single use plastics and microplastics are a major issue in relation to our oceans and its marine life and is linked to marine mammal stranding and an overall suffering of marine life.

HHR monthly meetings - how to get involved
by Sarah McCulloch

Each month we hold a volunteer meeting where we catch up about events of the past month, and plan future events in our HHR calendar. The meetings are a fun chance to get together and put forward new ideas to increase awareness and enthusiasm about our little organisation. We always bring a plate of food to share with everyone, so there’s extra incentives to come along! New members are always welcome, and it's a great opportunity to learn about more ways you can volunteer, such as at stalls or during beach clean ups. As the whale season begins, it’s also a good time to chat about our encounters with the gorgeous humpbacks. Our next meeting will be held on I11th April at 6:30pm, G51 Griffith University, and we can’t wait to see you there!!
Volunteer for HHR
by Holly Richmond

Want to experience breathtaking moments whilst researching and protecting marine mammals!? We call for new volunteers! We at Humpbacks & High-Rises would be honoured to welcome you aboard our research on humpback whales in the Gold Coast bay, Sunshine Coast and Coffs Harbor. We are interested in motivated, passionate and dedicated individuals who are willing to strive for the protection of humpback whales. Join our whale family of scientists, biologists and ocean lovers in gathering behavioural, migration and identification data of marine mammals on the east coast of Australia. One of the oceans largest marine mammals visit our coastlines every year between May to November to breed. We are very fortunate to have an ocean giant so close to our shoreline that we must continue to protect them from increasing human impacts, monitor changes in migration patterns and their ongoing health. We need you, to help broaden our team so we can continue to protect these beautiful creatures. Follow us on Facebook to be notified. Our upcoming training seminar on the Gold Coast will be on the 27th May. Here is a link to the event page. Feel free to send us an email for any enquiries to
Upcoming Events & volunteer opportunities

You can help making a difference and be part of our growing group of whale and dolphin researchers. 
  • Doco screening on humpback whales at Burleigh Heads on the 12th May in the late afternoon. Details will be announced shortly. It will be amazing and we make sure you get all excited for the coming whale season.
  • World Ocean Day is Saturday 8th June 2019. We will be having a clean up event in Burleigh Heads. Make sure to join and help make a difference.
  • Be part of our dedicated volunteer team and sign up. Whale season starts again end of May 2019 with the first training seminar held in May. Send us an e-mail to to register. 
  • Want to be part of the core team and get the real deal? Join our dedicated team that runs HHR at our monthly general meetings. Held at the end of each month. Next meeting 11th April 2019.
  • Want to be a learning how to collect and analyse whale behaviour and spend every day at sea? We call for interns for the 2019 whale season. 
  • Sign our petition: You can stop whale entanglements by supporting our Stop whale entanglement letter and request alternative methods to be put in place and developed. Do you know a business on the Gold Coast that would like to endorse the open letter? Please, send us an e-mail.
  • Join our 3-day research expeditions on the Gold Coast. Bookings and details here.
HHR relies on the interest, support and good will of people who feel that protecting marine mammals and learning about them is important. We are honest, independent and stand for the well being of our natural wonders and a sustainable whale watching industry. Our ongoing work entirely depends on donation. Please, consider donating for whale research and protection.


You can support whale protection and research in south-east Queensland; a small donation goes a long way.


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Humpbacks & High-Rises Inc · Post Office Mail Box 195 · Gold Coast, Queensland 4222 · Australia

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