Quicksilver Group News

Silverswift Passengers and Crew Witness Humpback Mother and Newborn Calf

On the return journey from the reef yesterday, excited crew and passengers aboard Cairns based dive and snorkel vessel Silverswift, saw a rarely witnessed encounter as a female humpback was surfaced and a new born calf appeared alongside.

Silverswift was about half way between Cape Grafton and Green Island at 4pm when they noticed a large humpback breaching and stopped the vessel.

Silverswift Dive Instructor Sam Killian said they believed it was a male humpback breaching, and the nearby female was on the surface when a small calf, less than 2 metres in length emerged to the surface. The calf did a few rolls and swam around close to the mother.

Humpback sightings are now becoming more frequent and last week while moored at Tracey’s Bommie at Flynn Reef, Silverswift passengers and crew saw a large humpback swim through the dive site.

Humpbacks are generally seen on the Great Barrier Reef between the months of June to September with regular sightings at the Outer Reefs and Green Island, bringing an added bonus for our passengers at this time.

Humpback whales regularly migrate from Antarctic waters along the east coast of Australia every winter to the warmer waters of the Great Barrier Reef to breed and calve. They are easily identified by having extremely large pectoral fins (their scientific name is Megaptera, which literally means giant wing), and scalloped flukes. They grow up to approximately 16 metres in length, weighing in at 30-50 tonnes. Male humpbacks produce “songs”, which are believed to attract females at mating times.