As the humpback whales in the Antarctic are feeding and increasing their blubber stores ready for their annual migration up the Australian east coast, the Sunreef Mooloolaba crew are also gearing up for another Swim with Whales season on Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast.
After launching Australia’s 1st Swimming with Humpback Whale encounters in 2014, Sunreef are keen to help more people experience an encounter with these magnificent mammals from a new perspective.
Sunreef Whale Encounter Supervisor, Dan Hart said more than 2,000 people from all over the world experienced their Swim with Whales tours in 2014.
“This year we are expecting even greater demand, with lots of people already booking for the immersive experience.
“In addition to our three-hour experiences, this year we are also launching new full-day tours in collaboration with Australia Zoo, aboard their custom-built conservation and research vessel, Croc One.
“Like our three-hour tours, there will be a maximum of twenty people per tour. The full day tours will allow more time for whale interactions and include a lovely lunch as well.”
This year more than 22,000 humpbacks are expected to make the migration north from Antarctica starting in about March, arriving in Queensland by July and returning south from September to November.
“It’s so exciting to know, as we work to prepare for their arrival and talk with whale researchers about the studies they will conduct this year, that the whales are preparing too, feeding and fattening themselves up ready for their travels.
“I love seeing and hearing everyone’s reactions when we have a great encounter. We see the whales from the surface and then you will hear the swimmers squealing excitedly through their snorkels as the whale swims past – it just takes your breath away every time!”
Dan – a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer – said the swimming with whales experience was operated under a strict Code of Conduct to protect both the whales and the participants.
Sunreef provide a full briefing on what to expect and safety procedures as well as providing all required equipment.
Once a whale is sighted, the boat will be put into neutral 100m or more away from the whale, and if the conditions are determined safe by Sunreef’s trained crew, the boat will be turned off and swimmers will be allowed into the water holding on to the floating line attached to the boat.
“Then it’s all up to the whale – it is a natural experience and it is 100% on the whale’s own terms,” Dan said.
The 2015 Sunreef Swim with Whales season will start on July 4th and run through until the end of October.
Sunreef is a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Centre and offer accredited PADI dive courses for all levels of divers as well as local reef dives in the Sunshine Coast region including the ex-HMAS Brisbane. They also offer international dive trips and travel as well as dive equipment sales and servicing.
Sunreef Mooloolaba, based in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, is the longest established dive centre on the Sunshine Coast (Queensland, Australia) with roots starting back in 1976.
The whale swimming and watching operations work out of Mooloolaba in the heart of Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast.
For more information on Sunreef and swimming with the whales visit www.sunreef.com.au or call 07 5444 5656.
View footage of Sunreef’s 2015 Swim with Whales season preview here.