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Reef Report for Monday, July 18, 2005

Dwarf Minke Whale Trips Rated Top Experience by Divers

This week we have received rave reviews of two different Minke Whale trips taken by our clients, and thought them worth sharing.

Cairns locals Mark and Yvonne just returned from a 4-day Minke Whale dive trip with Mike Ball Dive. © Wet Image They both felt that the combination of world-class diving on the Ribbon Reefs and extended encounters with Dwarf Minke Whales made for an amazing experience.

"I was surprised by how close the whales would come to us." Remarked Yvonne in her conversations with us. Mike Ball Dive follows the standard and simple protocol used by all dive operators licensed to encounter these whales: turn off the boat, and string out snorkelers along a floating line off the boat. Whales find this arrangement quite and attraction. Yvonne told us that groups of up to 8 whales came up, and approached the divers quite closely.

Mark was amazed on one particular dive. "We had moored at our dive site, and a group of six whales approached the stern of the boat. I got to choose between doing a great dive on the reef or being with the whales, how great is that!" Mark chose to do the dive, but was amazed by the sight of all the whales and snorkelers off the stern as he descended along the bow anchor line of the boat.

Both Mark and Yvonne felt spoiled by the food and hospitality they encountered, finding the crew friendly, the food great, and the atmosphere created by the large single dining table set by the crew to be friendly and fun.

Californian Gabrielle just returned from a 5-day trip with Explorer Ventures, where she had a similar positive reaction. © Dive The Reef "I found the diving great, the encounters with the whales to be truly remarkable, and the hospitality on board excellent." Gabrielle also was impressed by the fact that a researcher from the Great Barrier Marine Park Authority was on board. "I learned that GBRMPA carefully follows the interactions with whales by all dive operators, with the goal being to assure the safety of the divers and whales over the long term. They also collect data from the whales and divers for their research on these animals, of which little is known."

These remarkable trips are offered by just three dive operators, and only during the months of June and July, when these whales migrate into this one small part of the Great Barrier Reef from some other part of their migration route. While this season has passed, for those of you about to plan a dive trip to the Great Barrier Reef to consider taking one of these trips.

More information about Dwarf Minke Whales:

A complete list of Minke Whale Dive Trips. .

Dwarf Minke Whales on the Great Barrier Reef factsheet.

Dwarf Minke Whale research.

Download a Minke Whale song, (.wav file),

Download another Dwarf Minke Whale sound sequence, (.wav file),

(C) DiveTheReef The weekly reef report is written by Joel Groberg of DiveTheReef.com, who compiles them from the many conversations he has with dive staff in the area, as well as  many other local sources in the dive community.

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