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, to swim, snorkel or even scuba dive with Dwarf Minke Whales is Queensland Australia, on the Great Barrier Reef.
One of the best opportunities to see Dwarf Minke Whales is on a liveaboard in Queensland Australia. Fly to Cairns on the north east coast of Queensland. Then join a liveaboard to swim, snorkel and dive the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is in itself an amazing place. But if you visit between June and September, you may also be privileged to see and swim with Dwarf Minke Whales too.
When is the Cairns whale watching season?
The main whale watching season in Cairns, Queensland Australia, is between the months of July and August. Between these two months there's more possibility to see whales. But always remember this is nature. 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 22-23C (72-73F) in the day.
The water temperature has dropped from the bath-like temperatures in December of 32C (90F). But in August the water temperature is around 25C (77F). This makes it reasonable to swim or dive whilst wearing a wetsuit.
To find out the best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef for scuba diving, this post explains this month by month: Best time to visit the Great Barrier Reef.
What whales can be seen on the Great Barrier Reef?
In the Cairns whale watching season you have the chance to spot both 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 he too 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 any 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.
Where since the relaxed rules, swimmers are permitted to enter the water and let the whales approach them. Swimmers with mask, snorkel and fins watch the whales, whilst 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 provides one of the best chances to see Dwarf Minke Whales
Spoilsport is one of the top liveaboard boats that operates out from Cairns. A twin hull boat design, which maximises stability and passenger comfort in all weather conditions. That means it better for those of you who are not so good on the water as some!
For example, you can board Spoilsport for three nights, which would include snorkeling with Drawf Minke Whales, 10 dives (which includes 2 night dives). Increase the same trip by another day to have two extra dives, or go for a full 7 days but instead this would include 22 dives, including 4 night dives.
For more information about Spoilsport and booking a liveaboard trip to see Dwarf Minke Whales and combine this with scuba diving too - Liveaboard Australia Spoilsport with Dive The World.
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
This allows up to ten people at a time to get into the water and watch the whales. This assumes they will swim towards the boat rather than away, as the boat is not permitted to drive towards the whale.
A video of snorkelers swimming on a line watching Dwarf Minke Whales on the Great Barrier Reef...
One of the best ways 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. If you love to dive, but also love to see whales, then one of the best opportunities to see them at the same time as scuba diving, is to dive the Great Barrier Reef on a liveaboard.
Seeing Dwarf Minke Whales from a liveaboard does depend on the trip you take, but if this is what you are interested in, ask when booking your liveaboard trip. Only certain of the liveaboard boats have the relevant licence for this.
Click the following link to find the latest prices for liveaboards on the Great Barrier Reef from Dive The World. They offer a lowest price Guarantee, so well worth looking at.
Why is a liveaboard the best way to see the Great Barrier Reef?
If you use a liveaboard to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef, you get many benefits from doing it this way. The main benefits are as follows:
More time spent on the Great Barrier Reef from a liveaboard
There's no doubting that if you are on a liveaboard, you get to scuba dive more.
You wake up surrounded by the Coral sea and dive first thing in the morning. This compares to a day-trip dive boat that has to wait for everyone to board, motor out to the dive site and is limited by time and distance.
With a liveaboard you are living on the reef and you have such a great opportunity to dive more times and see much more. There's none of the motoring back and forth back to Cairns. Plus you can start your diving really early.
More chances to dive from a liveaboard
Most day boats provide two tank dives, whereas liveaboard dive boats generally offer at least three to four dives per day. One of which may be a night dive (see below).
Most diving on liveaboards start early in the morning at around 7am. Of course 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 dive. This internval will depend 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.
More chances to see, swim, snorkel or scuba dive and see Dwarf Minke Whales
Whether you see Dwarf Minke Whales from your liveaboard dive boat, partly depends on the boat you travel with and how many days your liveaboard trip is for.
Liveaboard dive trips are anything from 2 to 7 days long. The longer the trip, the further out the liveaboard can venture.
On a liveaboard, they are able to motor out to Ribbon Reef, which is around 200k (125 miles) motoring by boat. Liveboards are able to motor during the night, so that they are there ready for everyone to dive in the morning.
Ribbon Reef is a great spot to swim with Dwarf Minke Whales, where they are spotted in their numbers on a regular basis. And despite the fact this is nature and of course nothing is guaranteed, there is a good probability of seeing and swimming with Dwarf Minke Whales from a lievaboard at Ribbon Reef.
Dwarf Minke Whales, like all whales are hugely inquisitive. The swimmers in the water are told to not approach the whales. But this is where the magic happens.
Slowly but surely, the Minkes will normally approach the swimmers in the water. They usually get very close and within a few feet or metres of the snorkelers.
Night diving on the Great Barrier Reef from a liveaboard
One of the other added benefits of scuba diving from a livaboard boat is the opportunity to do night dives.
Night diving is great and to have the opportunity to see the Great Barrier Reef when the daytime fish are asleep hiding in the coral reef. But at night, the nighttime creatures come out to hunt.
Coral reefs at night are a must-see experience. The reef looks totally different by torch light.
Scuba diving the Outer Great Barrier Reef
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 out 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
There are twin-hulled liveaboard boats, which tend to be a bit more stable in the water. The twin hull design and the stability it gives are a better boat for those scuba divers who are not very good seafarers.
If your partner isn't a scuba diver, but 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, Dive The World have a comprehensive FAQ's page. Dive The World's FAQ and information on booking a liveaboard trip.
Or to find out more about Spoilsport liveaboard diving - Spoilsport liveaboard Australia with Dive The World. By the way Spoilsport isn't the only liveaboard boat, but it's the one to use for Dwarf Minke Whale interaction.
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!