In the water with Dwarf Minke Whales:
A unique up-close experience for divers and snorkelers.
An up-close experience found nowhere else:
In-water encounters between humans and whales are rare and leave lasting
impressions on the snorkelers and divers fortunate enough to be close
to these large marine mammals. Encounters between dive boats and Dwarf
Minke Whales on the reefs north of Cairns offer one of the most unique
experiences you can have with a marine mammal. In-water encoutners with
Dwarf Minke whales can last for hours, with the whales approaching quite
closely, truly a remarkable experience.
About Minke Whales
Dwarf Minke Whales were only recently noticed and described as a unique
species of whale in the 1980’s. These whales are very similar to
minke whales; with their smaller size, distinct color pattern, and exclusive
distribution in Southern oceans distinguishing them from their larger
cousins. “Dwarf” might still be considered a misnomer, as
these whales can still reach nearly 8 meters in length and weigh up to
These whales are baleen whales, and have no teeth. They feed on krill,
lantern fish, and other small fish and crustaceans.
is Dwarf Minke Whale season on the Ribbon Reefs
A population of 100 or more Dwarf Minke whales can be found on the Ribbon
Reefs during the months of May-July. The whales reliable migration into
this area, combined with their tendency to approach boats and snorkelers
lying still in the water, and to linger in these encounters for great
lengths of time have enabled dive operators to offer Minke Whale trips
during June and July.
3 to 7-day Trips
These 3 to 7-day trips are conducted under a strict set of rules laid
down by the Australian Government. Once a group of whales is spotted the
boat cuts it’s engines, everyone dons snorkeling gear, jumps in
the water, and hangs onto a floating line cast from the boat. Dwarf Minke
Whales can be skittish around scuba divers and moving snorkelers, but
will approach quiet snorkelers at the surface quite closely.
Not just whales, great diving
When not snorkeling with the whales, time is spent on these trips diving
on the Ribbon Reefs, which offer outstanding dive opportunities.