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Reef Report for Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Minke Whales Abundant on the Reef!

It was a much calmer week on the water this week. The winds dropped and the sun continued to shine. The wind will remain around 15 knots east to southeast and fine conditions will prevail.

On the reef TAKA guests reported the water temperature at 21-25 degrees and visibility 10 to 25 metres along the Ribbon Reefs. There were also quite a few minke whales sighted on the trip. At Clam Gardens four adult minke’s and one calf were seen. Visibility has been good at Osprey Reef, with 60metres reported. There was a lot of shark action at the feed including a tiger shark and oceanic silver tip. Octopuses and turtles were also seen.

Pro Dive sales representative Stephanie recently went out on Reef Magic and came home raving about the experience. Visibility at Saxon reef was 15 to 20 metres. Her friend did an introductory dive and saw a large Moray Eel in the first few minutes of the dive. She commented on the professional crew, great dive sites and hearty lunch. A great day was had by all.

The Reef Research Centre recently published (May 2002) flyer providing more information on the Dwarf minke whales in the Great Barrier Reef. As there have been so many sightings lately I thought it worthwhile to write about them a little bit more.

Dwarf minke whales were first recognized as a distinct form in the mid 1980’s and there is still little known about them. They attracted attention in northern Great Barrier Reef waters because they regularly approached close to boats and swimmers.

While many countries have banned programs where visitors can swim with whales, a swim-with-whales industry has developed in waters of the northern Great Barrier Reef based on voluntary approaches of dwarf minke whales. Here snorkellers hang off a floating line, and await the approach of the whales, (I’d be curious too, If I saw a bunch of folks hanging off a rope in the water!)

To ensure encounters have minimal impact on the whales, research is being focused on learning more about the dwarf minke whales and their interactions with swimmers.

For more information on these unique animals check out the extensive Minke Whale section at the CRC-Reef Research website.

(C) Pro Dive Cairns The weekly reef report is written by Sue-Anne Chapman of Pro Dive Cairns, who compiles them from the many conversations she has with divers, dive instructors, captains, and others in the Cairns dive community. The report is published weekly in the Cairn Post, the local daily paper and appears here thanks to the courtesy of Pro Dive Cairns.

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