Winter on the east coast of Australia usually means WHALES. With the cooler weather, and seas, comes the annual whale migration from Antartica. First to arrive in the northern Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea are the minke whales or more specifically the dwarf minke whales. These friendly whales are best known for their curious interaction with divers on the Ribbon Reefs near Cooktown. What is unique about the encounters is that the whales seek out the divers. A diver can be casually enjoying a leisurely dive when a 9m whale drops by for a closer look!
Dr Dean Miller, a marine bioplogist with Eye to Eye Marine Encounters, has spent many hours documenting the beheaviour of Dwarf Minke whales on the Ribbon reefs of the Great Barrier Reef “It is one of the most incredible wildlife experiences on the planet,” Dr Miller said. “And why do they keep coming back to connect with humans in this one spot?
To experience these whales in the wild you need to take an overnight journey with one of the dive liveaboards operating from Cairns. Mike Ball Dive Expeditions and Eye to Eye Marine Encounters both offer dedicated minke whale trips during the season and have a strict code of practice, designed by scientists, that they adhere to in order to ensure encounters are sustainable and do not stress the animals.
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