Peter Lynch was lucky enough to be interviewed by Wildiaries recently. The full interview is below.
From water-skiing ‘fish boy’ to award-winning whale watching guide, the multi-talented skipper of Harvey Bay’s Blue Dolphin, Peter Lynch, has designed a water-borne career to delight any escapist.
His current work conditions consist of stewarding a sleek catamaran through the gin-clear waters of the Great Sandy Strait to watch whales loll about in mid-migration languor.
His 300sqkm office is bounded by a vast blue sky, shimmering stretches of rich estuarine waters and the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island. His work colleagues love him; some come to play for hours, hitching a ride on the bow wave or blowing copious amounts of water over the boat as they sidle up to see what’s what.
His clients love him too. Some are still talking about the memorable day stretches of rich estuarine waters and the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island. His work colleagues love him; some come to play for hours, hitching a ride on the bow wave or blowing copious amounts of water over the boat as they sidle up to see what’s what.
His clients love him too. Some are still talking about the memorable day a very social Humpback decided to spend some extended quality time with the Blue Dolphin’s amazed visitors.
“Hervey Bay pretty much perfect – it’s a unique stopover or respite off the migration highway, Peter says, “the bay is protected by winds, enjoys better than average weather and has become a beautiful meeting point for humans and whales.
“They are more relaxed and curious in these waters, it’s obviously the whale’s choice to be here.”
Peter views his enviable day job as the natural progression of a decade and a half of intense work with whales and dolphins at Queensland’s famed Sea World.
As a teenager he turned up as a water-skiing acrobat at the huge marine park before securing the job of ‘fish boy’. This involved cleaning up after seals (extremely messy eaters) and sorting huge quantities of tucker straight from the trawlers for Sea World’s star attractions.
After volunteering at the dolphin department, he became the assistant to a trainer and was given his own dolphin to train. Eventually, he became the supervisor for four staff members, two False Killer Whales and six dolphins.
“After 14 years as a trainer, you know they have very distinctive personalities, Peter says.
“Dolphins are like Labradors, you can work with a dolphin because they are easy-going. False Killer Whales are much smarter, they work with you when they want to, as if to say ‘Yes, but what’s in it for me?”
In the mid-80s, Peter and his colleagues developed the ‘Rocket Ride’ with Sea World’s False Killer Whale matriarch Squirt, in which a trainer stands on the nose of the breaching whale and propelled several metres in the air.
“Squirt had her preferences – some days she would indicate ‘Nah, I’m not working with you today’. One time she bent and pushed every gate open and mobbed all the dolphins and false killer whales together. It took hours to sort out.”
In the wild, Hervey Bay’s bottle-nosed dolphins and their seasonal visitors, migrating Humpbacks play well together, Peter has observed.
“It great to be able to understand subtle behaviour, pick up individual markings, and know more about their preferences. “Dolphins love to bow ride on boats, they developed this from bow-riding whales. I can pick up a sharp head movement, a ‘head jam’, as territorial; it means “I’m here, this is my bow ride”.
Although is loves sun-soaked days at his 300sqm ‘office’, he believes there is a high education and conservation value of well-run marine parks. “If we didn’t have marine parks like Sea World or Flipper on television, no one would care about them and they’d still be occupying cans of tuna, “ Peter says.
With the help of Sea World, he was able to attain commercial diving and skipper licences to assist with research and rescue efforts. He was part of a crew who flew to Vanuatu to successfully rescued 36 spinner dolphins stuck in a lagoon and two Humpbacks which had attracted a 5000- strong crowd on the Sunshine Coast.
“Humpbacks do fascinate people, there is no doubt. People love the opportunity to see and hear them up close,” Peter says. “On the Blue Dolphin, we’re so close you can smell them too. Their breathe is understandably fishy,” Peter says. It’s not uncommon for fine particles of whale snot to waft over the boat after a spout of blown water descends but that’s the price paid for close contact with the curious cetaceans. “Honestly people love it! Some people see whale encounters as life-changing.”
Peter is passionate about being able to impart how extraordinary the marine creatures are, in captivity and in the wild. “I consider myself very lucky to have worked in with the curious cetaceans. “Honestly people love it! Some people see whale encounters as life-changing.”
Peter is passionate about being able to impart how extraordinary the marine creatures are, in captivity and in the wild.
“I consider myself very lucky to have worked in a marine park and to now be able to show them being themselves in the wild. Yes, it is a dream job and yes, ‘what an office’ to do it in,” he says.
Well we have, and we can show you on our Dolphin Watching tours around Hervey Bay and Fraser Island.
Our dolphin tours are the perfect way to see these incredible creatures while taking in the sights and sounds of Hervey Bay and Fraser Island. Did we mention that we have a sailing catamaran too?
Blue Dolphin Marine Tours has partnered up with Fraser Experience to bring you the ultimate luxury package!
Be driven around in style across Fraser Island in a 4 person Hummer for the day with free accommodation transfers and then see the Hervey Bay whales or dolphins (depending on season) on our luxury sailing catamaran! Now who wouldn’t go for a package like that.
Prices start from as little as $225 so don’t miss out, contact us today to book your next Hummer package.
Despite the waters of the Great Sandy Strait being quite dirty from all the recent rains the Indo-pacific humpback dolphins are still moving through looking for food. On most of our trips we are happy to find our regular pod of humpback dolphins feeding and playing near the mouth of the harbour.
From Peter and Jodie Lynch and all the staff at Blue Dolphin Marine Tours, we would like to wish you a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Thankyou to everyone who joined us one one of our tours and we do hope you had a great experience. We look forward to the New Year and seeing you and your family and friends
out with us again.
8th of April was a great day to be on the waters of Hervey Bay. The waters were very calm and clear. The bottle-nose dolphin were also very friendly. We enjoyed the company of 3 to start our day with. Two young dolphins spent plenty of time playing under the bow. With the clear calm water we could clearly see the eyes of the dolphins as they rolled and played with us. Then the adult came to the surface with large shell on her rostrum. She then tried to get the animal out of the shell. Great to see and very rare. After the dolphins we then went to Pelican banks for a swim. On our way home we also encountered a pod of indo-pacific humpback dolphins.
The Blue Dolphin catamaran is 10.5 metres long and 7 metres wide with ample room to move around for optimum viewing of marine creatures – a full 360 degrees view!
This Tasman C35 catamaran is very stable and gentle with shaded viewing areas for your comfort.
Blue Dolphin offers almost eye to eye viewing with the whales and dolphins, the only one of its kind in Hervey Bay, Queensland!
On board Blue Dolphin you are well away from the large noisy crowd usually associated with whale watch encounters. Survey for the boat is 30 passengers but we limit numbers to 20 for passenger comfort. By limiting the number of passengers it allows for you to have a more personal relationship with the whales, dolphins and the crew, which is necessary for a true eco-tourism experience.
Blue Dolphin cruises at approximately 7 – 8 knots motoring – greater with wind speed.
The morning Dolphin Cruise is on the waters of the Great Sandy Straits by Hervey Bay and Fraser Island. Here we look for the bottlenose dolphins (aduncas) and the indo-pacific humpback dolphins (sousa chineses), which is a lesser known species. Both of these species reside in small residential pods of up to 20 and are found around Hervey Bay and Fraser Island. The waters are also home to dugongs, turtles, seabirds and other marine life.
Our dolphin watching tours started back in December 1996 and we have maintained a 90% to 95 % success rate for finding the dolphins.
The cruise lasts for around 4 hours and morning tea is provided. During summer and weather permitting we also manage a swim on one of the shallow sand banks.
Peter Lynch has been involved in eco-tourism for many years and has a vast first hand knowledge of the local area as well as the marine life.
Peter has worked with dolphins and whales for over 25 years. 14 years with Seaworld as a marine mammal trainer, a summer season with the Australian Antarctic Division and for the last 11 years as a dolphin and whale watch operator in Hervey Bay, Queensland.
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