It’s become a significant event on the Port Stephens winter calendar.
The Human Whale pays homage to the ‘Humpback Highway’ as about 35,000 of the marine mammals pass along the east coast of Australia each year.
In 2018, a crowd of 1,318 people turned out at Fingal Beach to form a 100-metre-long outline of a humpback whale, beating the previous record by 300.
Imagine Cruises owner Frank Future, who has co-organised the event alongside Moonshadow-TQC Cruises’ Mel Turner for the past few years, says this weekend’s edition promises an even bigger attendance.
The event has taken place since 2011 and, due to its increasingly popularity, moved from Shoal Bay to Fingal Bay.
“Every year we’ve had a few more and last year it jumped to 300, which was great,” he tells Newcastle Weekly.
“It started, I guess, by thanking the whales and an appreciation for the fact that they turn up in what traditionally has been quiet in terms of tourism.
“The Human Whale is a bit of a signature event for Port Stephens – I’m not aware that it happens anywhere else in Australia – and it is a fun, family event.
“It’s one of the success stories in conservation here as well; not every population of whales is making such a recovery as ours.
“We’ve never done more than one whale before but we’re hoping, if we get enough people this year, to do an adult and a calf.
“Later in the season, around September, you see mums coming back with their calves and that’s one of my favourite parts of the year.”
Apart from the formation, there will also be a conservation theme, which includes interactive and educational displays, while event organisers have worked with Destination Port Stephens and Fingal Bay businesses.
Registrations for the Human Whale will start at 10am this Sunday 14 July.
A formation is set to follow at 11.45am, before a midday flyover from drones to capture footage of the free event.