WHALES have been entertaining delighted onlookers in Portland with spectacular jumps, flips and spurts barely 20 metres from shore.
Crowds have been flocking to the city’s breakwater to see the whales breaching, causing traffic chaos on Wednesday.
Paul Lozogo, who travelled from Ballarat to witness the aquatic display, said the vehicle congestion was an issue but didn’t detract from the impressive exhibition.
“Cars didn’t give way, that was the issue, but with so many people you’ve got to expect that,” Mr Lozogo said.
“The whales were flying out of the water, you don’t see that very often.
“But I couldn’t get over their noises.”
Vanessa Reid of Portland, a self-described whale-chaser, said the whales were so impressive she took 1200 photos on Wednesday. “They were still breaching at sunset,” she said.
“There were people everywhere — cyclists, people with dogs and tourists.”
News of the frisky whales travelled quickly, prompting many keen whale-watchers to travel to Portland.
Rhonda Godfrey, of Mt Gambier, wanted to see a whale breach.
“We read about the whales on the (online) whale mail and we thought let’s pop over,” she said.
“I saw it all over Facebook last night so thought I’d come have a look,” Zachary Moore, of Portland, said.
“It’s always good for the community pride.”
It was the first time French tourist, Nicolas Loz, had seen a whale.
“They’re so huge and tranquil. In two days we’ve seen so many whales. I think they like this place,” he said.
Whales have been spotted daily since Sunday.
The Portland Visitor Information Centre said up to 12 whales have been seen in the bay at any one time.
On Wednesday, Portland police were forced to close the Lee breakwater to vehicle traffic when the single access lane became too congested.
Port of Portland general manager Alan Byers said it was the first time the breakwater had been closed for a reason other than maintenance.
“Police closed it off and were directing cars to the Nuns Beach carpark. We can’t trust people to do the right thing. If they followed road rules it’d be OK,” Mr Byers said.