Dwarf Minke Whale liveaboard and the the best place to swim with Dwarf Minke Whales
Probably one of the only places in the world to see, swim, snorkel and scuba dive with Dwarf Minke Whales is Queensland Australia on the Great Barrier Reef.
Your best chance to witness these magnificent creatures is from a Great Barrier Reef liveaboard. Spoilsport and Spirit of Freedom are the best liveaboards offering an opportunity for the thrill to share the water with the Great Barrier Reef’s dwarf minke whales. Both liveaboards operate out of Cairns, Australia when the best time to visit is between June and September to see Dwarf Minke Whales.
The best way to dive with minke whales on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia is by a scuba diving liveaboard. You can check the latest and best deals on Great Barrier Reef liveaboards using the following window:
Great Barrier Reef dive liveaboards table
This list of Australia Great Barrier Reef liveaboards is in descending customer rating order, followed by Scuba Diving Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating, see below), so the liveaboards with the highest customer rating and the best SDE lux rating will be at the top of the list. If you want to change the list order, use the “Sort by” dropdown below.
|Discover Liveaboard||Customer Rating||SDE Lux Rating %||Flexible Booking||Dive Courses||Dietary Requirements||Nitrox||Gear Rental|
|Review: MY Spoilsport; Book: MY Spoilsport||9.4||73%||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review: MY Spirit of Freedom; Book: MY Spirit of Freedom||9.3||83%||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review: Coral Sea Dreaming; Book: Coral Sea Dreaming||9.2||62%||YES||YES||YES||NO||YES|
|Review: MY Pro Dive Cairns; Book: MY Pro Dive Cairns||9.2||52%||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Review: Rum Runner; Book: Rum Runner||9||44%||YES||YES||YES||NO||YES|
|Review: MY Ocean Quest; Book: MY Ocean Quest||9||40%||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
The Scuba Diving Earth Luxury Rating (SDE Lux Rating) is explained on each liveaboard review when you click the “Discover Liveaboard” link, and is my own Liveaboard Luxury Rating I’ve assigned to all liveaboards. Choosing between liveaboards is helped by customer scores, and if you get stuck choosing between two or three liveaboards, where each one has a high customer score out of 10, you can use the SDE Luxury Rating to help narrow down your choice.
Think about it like using Booking.com when searching for the best hotel. Booking.com also use a customer score where each customer rates hotels out of 10. This is similar to the liveaboard customer rating, which is also rated out of 10. But let’s say you only like to stay in hotels rated 8 and above on Booking.com, but you also want the hotel to have WIFI or parking, or to have a swimming pool etc. The features each hotel has is usually secondary to the score out of 10.
When the Minke Whale season Cairns?
The main whale watching season in Cairns, Queensland Australia, is between the months of July and August. Between these two months there’s more chance you will see whales.
But remember this is nature where encounters with wild animals is even more mercurial than the weather.
However, the whale watching season in Cairns is extended sometimes beyond July and August. Sometimes whales are seen in the months of June and September too.
July and August are good months to visit Cairns. In these months it is their dry season. Also, the air is not so humid in these months. However, it’s cooler than it is in their summer months of December and January. But its still around 22-23°C (72-73°F) in the day.
The water temperature has dropped from the bath-like temperatures in December of 32°C (90°F). But in August the water temperature is around 25°C (77°F). This makes it reasonable to swim or dive wearing a wetsuit.
To find out the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef for scuba diving please take time to read this post, as it explains this month by month: Best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef. The post includes a handy table of the best months.
What whales can be seen on the Great Barrier Reef?
During the Cairns whale watching season can see Humpback Whales and Dwarf Minke Whales. Humpback Whales are more common than Drawf Minke Whales. Plus you have the chance to see Migaloo the all-white Humpback Whale.
Migaloo was the only all white Humpback in the world until Migaloo-2 came along. But Migallo-2 can only be seen on the Great Barrier Reef and in the Coral Sea too.
Swim with Minke Whales in Queensland
The whale watching tour boats are not permitted to get closer than 100 metres (328 feet) from a whale. However, the whale watching rules in Australia were relaxed back in 2014 to combat the fall in visitor numbers.
Since the relaxed rules swimmers are permitted to enter the water and let the whales approach them. Swimmers holding on to ropes connected to the stern of the boats.
Whale watching in this way for both Humpback Whales and Dwarf Minke Whales can be done from whale watching boats and from liveaboard boats. But only certain of the liveaboard boats have the relevant licence to approach the whales in this way.
Spoilsport liveaboard dive boat offers one of the best chances to see Dwarf Minke Whales
The Spoilsport liveaboard operates from Cairns. She is a twin hulled dive boat which offers maximum stability and passenger comfort in all weather conditions. Which is better for those who don’t have great sea legs. Spoilsport has been review rate 9.4 out of 10 by scuba divers.
Spoilsport liveaboard trips include:
- Snorkelling with Dwarf Minke Whales.
- 10 dives, including 2 night dives).
- Increase your trip time by an extra day to have two more dives.
- Choose their 7 day trip which includes 22 dives, of which 4 are night dives.
- Their 4 day 4 night trip includes up to 15 dives, including night dives.
- The 7-day expedition includes up to 26 dives, including night dives.
For more information about Spoilsport liveaboard and to book a liveaboard trip to see Dwarf Minke Whales combined with a scuba diving trip: Liveaboard Australia Spoilsport.
The Spirit of Freedom liveaboard and minke whales
The Spirit of Freedom liveaboard also offers minke whale experiences to the Great Barrier Reef. She is a single hulled liveaboard and scores 9.3 out of 10 from customer reviews.
Spirit of Freedom liveaboard trips include:
- Trip to the reefs south of Lizard Island, known as the Ribbon Reefs where the dwarf Minke whales migrate.
- Snorkelling with Dwarf Minke Whales as their approach the boat out of curiosity.
- Up to 11 scuba dives including Cod Hole.
If you want to read about this fabulous trip and the interaction with Minke Whales, read this article in The Guardian by Elle Hunt. Elle swam with the Minkes and scuba dived from Spoilsport. From her report of the trip and from what she says about it, there doesn’t seem to be any other way to go.
“It was mere minutes before a whale emerged…By the end of the interaction, they were so regular, so casual in their approaches, it was difficult to keep all three in frame…Back onboard Spoilsport, there was a shared sense of jubilation, even giddiness – we sparkled from the encounter.” Extract quotes from Elle Hunt, The Guardian Newspaper
The trip permits up to ten people at a time to get into the water to watch the whales.
A video of snorkelers swimming on a line watching Dwarf Minke Whales on the Great Barrier Reef
The best way to see and experience the Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea is to dive from a liveaboard.
Dwarf Minke Whale liveaboard
If you are a scuba diver and if you love to dive one of your best chances to see dwarf minke whales on a scuba dive trip is to the Great Barrier Reef on a liveaboard.
Seeing Dwarf Minke Whales from a liveaboard does depend on the trip you take.
Why is a liveaboard the best way to see the Great Barrier Reef?
Scuba diving from a liveaboard on the Great Barrier Reef offers the following advantages:
- You get more time to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef away from the crowds.
- Great Barrier Reef liveaboards offer more dives per day.
- More chances to see, swim, snorkel or scuba dive with Dwarf Minke Whales.
- Night diving on the Great Barrier Reef from a liveaboard.
- Scuba diving the Outer Great Barrier Reef.
1. You get more time to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef away from the crowds
On a liveaboard trip you get to scuba dive more. You wake up each morning in a different location surrounded by the Coral sea. With the first activity of the day is an early morning scuba dive.
This compares to a day-trip dive boat that has to wait for everyone to board. Then you have to motor out to the dive site, which is limited by time and distance.
With a liveaboard you enjoy living on a floating hotel in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. It is this that provides such a great opportunity to dive more times and to see much more. There’s none of the motoring back and forth back to Cairns.
2. Great Barrier Reef liveaboards offer more dives per day
Liveaboard dive boats generally offer at least three or four dives per day. One of which may be a night dive (see below). Whereas most day boats provide two tank dives per day and no night dives.
Most dives on a Great Barrier Reef liveaboard start early in the morning at around 7am. If you’re not an early riser then you can miss the first dive, but that would be crazy.
As with all dives there needs to be a reasonable interval between each dive. The interval you have depends on the depth and length of time of the dive.
But due to the fact that the diving starts so early, this means more chances to dive from a liveaboard than from a day trip dive boat. Often whilst you wait for your next scuba dive you can enjoy snorkelling on the reef.
3. More chances to see, swim, snorkel or scuba dive with Dwarf Minke Whales
Whether you are lucky enough to spot Dwarf Minke Whales from your liveaboard dive boat, partly depends on the boat you travel with. Your chances are also affect by the number days of your liveaboard trip.
Liveaboard dive trips run from 2 to 7 days long. The longer the trip the further out the liveaboard can venture. The further out they venture the better the trip.
On a liveaboard trip the boat is capable of motor to Ribbon Reef, which is around 200k (125 miles) from Cairns (which makes it inaccessible for days boats). As liveaboards are able to motor during the night, this means you arrive in the night ready to dive in the morning.
Ribbon Reef is a great spot to swim with Dwarf Minke Whales. Many whales are often spotted at a time. So despite the fact that you are reliant on nature, there’s a good chance to swim and dive Dwarf Minke Whales from a liveaboard at Ribbon Reef.
Dwarf Minke Whales like all whales are hugely inquisitive. The swimmers in the water ask not approach the whales. But this is where the magic happens. Slowly but surely the minke whales usually approach the swimmers in the water. They usually get very close and within a few feet or metres of the snorkelers.
4. Night diving on the Great Barrier Reef from a liveaboard
One of the other added benefits of scuba diving from a liveaboard boat is the opportunity to experience night dives on the Great Barrier Reef.
Night diving is great when you get the opportunity to see the Great Barrier Reef when the daytime fish are asleep hiding in the coral reef. But at night, the night-time creatures come out to hunt.
Coral reefs at night are a must-see experience. The reef looks totally different by torch light.
5. Scuba diving the Outer Great Barrier Reef is only available from a liveaboard
More opportunity to see unspoiled coral reefs. Much of the Great Barrier Reef has been damaged by coral bleaching. This has affected some of the day trip boats as there are less scuba divers. However, the liveaboard boats are able to travel further to reach more remote, healthy reefs than those that might accessible to day-trip operators.
Plus there’s the benefit of having far less divers on the outer reefs. Scuba diving the outer great barrier reefs means clearer waters, more sea life and a better choice of dive sites.
Liveaboard dive boats make the out reefs more accessible to scuba divers.
Considerations for your liveaboard trip to the Great Barrier Reef
Twin-hulled liveaboard boats tend to be more stable in the water. The twin hull design and the stability it gives are better designed boats for those scuba divers who are not very good seafarers.
If your partner isn’t a scuba diver and happy to snorkel, then a liveaboard trip would still work well. Most non-scuba divers are happy to snorkel, which they can do on certain of the shallower dive sites. Plus of course they’d be able to join in on the Minke Whale experience.
If you have questions about a liveaboard trip, Liveaboard.com have 24/7 support.
I hope you enjoyed this article about Minke Whale liveaboard swimming or diving
I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof Gopro’s!
If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or scuba diving (or specifically about Minke Whale liveaboard swimming or diving), please comment below with your questions.
There will also be many more articles about scuba diving (and snorkeling) for you to read and learn about these fabulous sports.
Have fun and be safe!