Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
When is the best time to go Whale Watching?
Our Whale Watching cruises operate during the Humpback Whales southern migration. During August some of the whales are still heading north however some will begin their migration south. September and October are the months when we see the largest number of whales passing by Eden on their southern migration.
What should we bring on a cruise?
Warm clothes – being on the water can be cold especially when standing viewing the whales.
Camera – to capture all those golden whale moments (and spare batteries or a power source).
Sunglasses – there is a lot of glare off the water so a pair of sunnies is always recommended.
Seasickness precautions are recommended for whale watching and coastal wilderness cruises which operate on open waters, it’s always better to be prepared.
A sense of adventure – you never know what we may encounter!
Are there any refreshments on board?
Complimentary Refreshments including tea, coffee, fruit juice, cheese & biscuits are served on all of our cruises. We are a licensed vessel and also have soft drinks and small packets of chips available for sale on board.
You are welcome to bring any other food you may want whilst on the cruise however there is an old nautical superstition that Bananas are bad luck to bring aboard a vessel – so maybe avoid bringing bananas.
What if my cruises is cancelled, how will I be notified?
If your cruise is cancelled due to bad weather an SMS text message will be sent to the number provided on your booking. Our team will then contact you by phone to offer to reschedule your cruise to an alternate date/time. If you are unable to reschedule a full refund will be processed.
Please note if you have booked via a third-party agent or have used a gift voucher the terms of your voucher/agent will apply.
What if we don't see any whales on our whale cruise?
Please be assured our crew will do their absolute best to find whales on each of our Whale Watching cruises. Joining a wildlife tour never has any guarantees, the two main elements we base our cruises around are the wildlife and the weather – both of these are beyond our control.
In the event that no whales are sighted during your Whale Watching or Family Whale Watching cruise you will be offered a free return cruise or half your fare refunded.
Is there a minimum or maximum age?
There is no minimum or maximum age for travel on our vessel. We have hosted small babies right through to centurions.
Can I bring a stroller/pram?
Yes, we can accommodate strollers inside cabin of our vessel, it is a good idea to note that you will be bringing a stroller onboard in the special requirements section when booking via our website or mention this when booking over the phone.
What happens in bad weather?
All cruises are subject to weather as well as sea conditions. We rarely cancel based on a forecast of rain however if the rain were to reduce visibility this would impact our ability to navigate safely, find whales or other wildlife and in this instance a cruise may be cancelled. Wind strength and direction as well as swell height and direction will also influence our decision to cancel a cruise.
We consult the Australian Bureau of Meteorology for the latest forecast, if you are concerned about the weather forecast please contact us on 0427 962 027.
What is the best time of the day to see whales?
We are often asked if it is better to go Whale Watching in the morning or afternoon and this is extremely difficult answer. What we can say is that the sea conditions are generally calmer of a morning however this is not always the case.
When joining a wildlife tour there are never any guarantees of the types of behaviours we might see, we are simply there to observe these wild creatures. Everyone loves to see a whale breach however we do not see this on every trip, they are wild animals and their behaviour and activity will be different each day and morning to afternoon. To see a wide range of whale behaviours you would need to go whale watching more than once.
Is the Cat Balou wheel chair accessible?
There is limited wheelchair access on our vessel, there is a ramp that leads from our pontoon to the vessel, then there is space on our outer back deck for a wheelchair to be positioned. There are sea doors, a step up of 30cm, that lead from the back deck into the cabin and this can be an obstacle for accessing the inside cabin for those in a wheelchair. Our toilets also have sea doors and again this restricts their use for those with limited mobility.
Please feel free to contact us on 0427 962 027 if you would like any further information about access to our vessel we welcome the chance to discuss your individual situation and are happy to answer any questions you may have.
Will I get seasick?
Seasickness precautions are recommended for Whale Watching and Coastal Wilderness cruises which operate on open waters, it’s always better to be prepared. Your local chemist/pharmacy will be able to provide you with information about the preventative options available and suitable for you.
• Have light breakfast, avoid any rich/ fatty foods. Do NOT skip a meal as feeling hungry can contribute to nausea.
• If you start feeling unwell move to the lower back deck, this section of our vessel is the best place to be should you feel sick. Being in the fresh sea air will help.
• Keeping your eyes on the horizon or the land and avoid looking down.
• Please don’t worry if you start to feel unwell, alert a member of our crew and they will be able to assist you. We also have seasick bags onboard and these are freely available.
Do we have to wear life jackets?
We are very fortunate here in Eden we do not cross any sandbars and therefore our passengers are not required to wear life jackets.
We do however have life jackets for all of our passengers as well as three inflatable life rafts.
What's the maximum capacity of passengers onboard Cat Balou?
The CAT BALOU is surveyed to carry 72 passengers and 3 crew, however we limit the number of passengers onboard to 60 as we find this provides better viewing for all onboard.
**COVID 19 – in line with the NSW Health guidelines our maximum number of passengers will capped based on the current directive.