Onlookers were treated to a magical display of whale behaviour for the annual count of the giant mammals on Sunday, June 26.
Each year Mid North Coast residents head to the coast to take on vital research for NSW's only volunteer wildlife rehabilitation group, Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia (ORRCA).
The count takes place at a number of different locations on the coastline, where volunteers can participate from dawn to dusk.
Ninety whales had been counted from Tacking Point Lighthouse in Port Macquarie by 8am.
Water spouts, tail waves and breaches could be seen from the prime vantage point.
Veteran whale spotter and ORRCA volunteer Leigh Mansfield said conditions were perfect for counting whales with minimal wind, clear skies and flat seas.
It's the 23rd year of the ORRCA census.
"If no one counted the whales, we'd have no idea what's out here," Mr Mansfield said.
"We know there's around 35,000 to 40,000 humpback whales and having the census ... it gives everyone a good idea of what's out there."
ORRCA whale census data has indicated humpback whale numbers are increasing.
ORRCA volunteer Toni Holmes described the lookout at Tacking Point Lighthouse as the most amazing spot on the planet.
She visits the location as often as she can to observe sea animals.
"You can spend hours up here," she said.
Anneliese Carter and Hayley Sear were at the lookout on June 26 and said it's wonderful to observe the whales in their natural habitat.
Humpbacks, killer whales, Bryde's whales and minke whales have all been sighted from the Mid North Coast over the past few weeks.
Mr Mansfield is keeping his eyes peeled for one whale in particular - the albino whale known as Migaloo.
"Port Macquarie (residents) have sighted Migaloo 15 different years since 1991," he said.
Migaloo hasn't been seen since 2020.
The data from the June 26 whale census will be finalised by ORRCA over the next few weeks.
If you see a stranded whale, dolphin or seal that needs rescuing, you can call ORRCA's 24-four hour rescue line on (02) 9415 3333.
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