Swim With Minke Whales on the Great Barrier Reef

Jennifer Tofia on January 29th, 2019

An incredible wildlife experience that is not readily available just anywhere in the world, only here on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

This tour is limited to a small handful of licenced marine operators and only possible during a fleeting three-month period out of the year.

Swim with Dwarf Minke Whale Expeditions are to be considered if you have been pondering on booking a liveaboard dive and snorkel tour in Cairns and Port Douglas.

This is because you get all the features of an outer reef liveaboard expedition with the additional opportunity to see, and be in the water with the cute inquisitive Dwarf Minke Whales.

Up close with the Fascinating Minke Whales

Minke Whales are extraordinarily curious creatures, and for this reason they are commonly encountered up very close and personal, but under their terms of course.

The expeditions allow you to swim and be in the water if a Minke Whale is encountered at any of the Great Barrier Reef sites the vessels are licenced to visit. 

Abiding by strict codes of practice, a maximum of two surface ropes are placed in the water with swimmers with snorkel gear positioned 3 to 4 metres apart.

The Dwarf Minke Whales are very inquisitive, and find us interesting to look at. There is no need to follow them, they tend to swim up to snorkellers for a closer look of their own accord. They decide how close they want to interact and swim with us.  

And quite often their curiosity brings them in as close as up to a meter distance at times.

Common swim with Minke Whale interactions can last 90 mins up to 2 hours in most cases, with two or three in a pod. At other times, up to twenty.

Can you imagine it!

Where & When

The expeditions have a focus on visiting a number of key reef sites where the Minkes are known to travel during their migration. These reef sites are dotted along the Ribbon Reefs not far from the Continental Shelf of Australia drop off.

The migration of the Minkes through the Ribbon Reefs occurs for a very limited time during the months of June, July & August, our northern tropical winter months.

So book your berth early as cabins are limited and mark these months on your dive calendar!

Although there are interactions with divers, the most prevalent interactions are with snorkellers. So, don’t be too concerned if you are not a certified diver and want to participate in one of the exclusive expeditions available.

Duration of Expeditions

There are only a handful of marine tour operators that run swim with Minke Whale Expeditions. Between them you will find options ranging from 3 nights up to 7 nights with all expeditions departing out of Cairns.

There are a couple that include a cruise out and fly back option which may help to fit an expedition in to your itinerary.

10 Interesting Minke Whale Facts

  • Dwarf Minke whales are a type of Rorqual whale and are the smallest of the Baleen Whales.
  • Dwarf Minke Whales grow up to between 8 to 9 metres long
  • Females are bigger than the males
  • Dwarf Minke Whales are no different to Minke Whales other than size. Usually up to 8 metres long.
  • Dwarf Minke Whales have two blow holes
  • Dwarf Minke females reproduce every second year. The pregnancy lasts 10 to 11 months.
  • Each pregnancy produces one calf.
  • A newborn Dwarf Minke Whales calf is approximately 2.5 metres long and weighs 450 kg [1000 lb] at birth.
  • Dwarf Minke Whales are less likely to be seen breaching and doing Tail [Fluke] Slaps compared to Humpbacks
  • Dwarf Minke whales can survive up to 50 years in the wild.

Book one of our Swim With Minke Whale Expeditions now to ensure you experience this amazing marine animal interaction





Talk to us today about swimming with Minke Whales, call 1300 231 118

Jennifer Tofia

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