2017 Human Whale: Port Stephens gathers to create 100-metre-long whale

UPDATE:

The human humpback whale’s move to Fingal Bay this year did nothing to deter the Port Stephens community and visitors to the area from taking part.

Destination Port Stephens marketing manager Danny Eather said an initial tally showed 1001 people registered to take part in Saturday’s formation of a 150m humpback whale on Fingal Bay Beach.

“We had some late people sprinting down the beach to be in it, and a few people walk up the beach and join the formation without registering,” he said.

“We tried to get everyone to register. We counted 1001 on the day.”

Destination Port Stephens, which manages the human whale event on behalf of a number of key stakeholders behind Naturefest, will submit the count and evidence of the event to Guinness World Records.

From there, it is a wait and see game as to whether they will accept it.

But regardless of whether it is a world record, Mr Eather said it was a Port Stephens record.

“It’s a record every year,” he said. “It just gets bigger and bigger.”

The formation, the last event in the Naturefest program, was moved from Shoal Bay to Fingal Bay this year to accommodate the event’s increased size.

Additionally, organisers were able to use the Fingal Bay Surf Club’s facilities, which Mr Earther said was a great help.

While only about 3km apart, organisers were slightly concerned the move to Fingal Bay would deter some people from taking part.

Their concerns, however, were for nothing.

Many people also took advantage of the shuttle service Port Stephens Coaches ran between Nelson Bay, Shoal Bay and Fingal Bay.

Mr Eather said many residents took part in the formation this year.

He also spoke to people visiting the area from Newcastle, Blacktown and Gosford who took part in the human whale formation. 

In addition to the whale formation, there were stalls by National Parks and Wildlife Services, Marine Parks and Port Stephens tourism operators set up at the beach on the day.

Earthen Rhythms African Drumming provided some entertainment on the day, too.

The formation was in place by noon.

Port Stephens drone service, Hover UAV, flew a drone overhead to capture the formation from the air.

It is the second year Hover UAV has captured the human whale formation. 

The humpback whale, created by more than 1000 people, on Fingal Bay Beach on Saturday, July 15. Captured by Hover UAV

The humpback whale, created by more than 1000 people, on Fingal Bay Beach on Saturday, July 15. Captured by Hover UAV

EARLIER:

More than 1000 people turned out to Fingal Bay Beach on Saturday to help create the outline of a 150m long humpback whale.

The ‘human humpback’ has been running in Port Stephens since 2011.

It was relocated to Fingal Bay Beach from Shoal Bay this year as organisers anticipated the event would receive the largest ever turn-out – and they were not disappointed.

The fun formation is a tribute to the Humpback Highway, which see some 25,000 whales that pass by Port Stephens on ‘the great whale migration’ each winter.

It is a highlight of Naturefest which celebrates the region’s many spectacular natural assets.

“Naturefest reminds us of how important our natural environment is, attracting visitors all year round to Port Stephens, in particular during the cooler months,” Danny Eather, destination marketing manager for Destination Port Stephens, said.

“It’s rewarding to see community celebrations like this grow year-on-year and attract nature-lovers to this very special part of the world.” 

Video: @pscouncil, via Instagram

SATURDAY: 

People of all ages gathered on Fingal Bay to create the Port Stephens human whale.

The event sees people standing to create the outline of a 100-metre-long humpback whale, as part of the Naturefest program.

More than 1000 people were involved last year.

The event pays homage to the Humpback Highway which will see about 25,000 whales on the great winter migration using to get to warmer breeding waters, passing through Port Stephens to do so.

It also makes a fun day out for the family; timed to coincide with the winter school holidays and the end of Naturefest which celebrates the region’s natural assets.

Destination Port Stephens marketing manager Danny Eather said the event was a celebration.

“The human whale is a great community celebration that showcases, for visitors to this beautiful part of the world, a taste of the community spirit that is such a big part of any Port Stephens experience,” he said.