SWIMMING WITH MINKE WHALES
Silversonic has one of the few permits available from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority that allows our guests to swim with dwarf minke whales if encountered – a truly unforgettable experience!
From our experience, July to September is the peak season to encounter the inquisitive minkes as they frequent the Agincourt Ribbon Reefs where Silversonic visits. They are however common in our waters between the months of March and October.
The voluntary approach to the vessel and swimmers by minke whales creates a unique in-water experience.
Abiding by strict codes of practice, a maximum of two surface ropes will be placed in the water with swimmers then positioned 3-4 metres apart for a magical, and safe encounter. The whales actually control the encounter in that they decide how close they interact and swim with us!
The Dwarf Minke Whale Tourism Monitoring Program was a world first fully permitted swimming-with-whales program and is conducted in partnership between the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, researchers and the tourism industry. Silversonic and the Quicksilver Group pro-actively contribute to this program.
About the Minke Whale
The minke whale is the smallest baleen whale, identified by about 50-70 throat grooves. They have a characteristic white band on each flipper, contrasting with its very dark grey top color. They have two blowholes, like all baleen whales.
Dwarf minke whales were first recognised as a distinct form in the mid 1980s and there is still little known about them. They attracted attention in northern Great Barrier Reef waters because they are naturally inquisitive, and often come close to boats and swimmers.
The species is known only from the Southern Hemisphere. Female dwarf minkes are on average about two metres shorter than Antarctic minkes, with the female larger than the male. The largest dwarf minke whale that was accurately measured was 7.8 m long with adults weighing 5-6 tonnes.
Minke whales (like all baleen whales) are seasonal feeders and carnivores. They sieve through the ocean water with their baleen, filtering out small plankton, krill and small fish, even chasing schools of sardines, anchovies, cod and herring.
They are the most abundant baleen whale with a world wide population estimated to be close to 800,000.