The whales are here! Whale Season in the Great Barrier Reef
The first of the humpback whales have been spotted in our tropical waters, marking an early start to their annual "northern break" in the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Much to the delight of passengers and crew aboard our Cairns-based dive and snorkel vessel Silverswift, they saw their first humpback on 23 May. They are generally seen on the Great Barrier Reef between the months of June to September as they migrate to warmer waters to mate and give birth.
Humpback whales are regularly sighted at the Outer Barrier Reef and Green Island, bringing an added bonus for our passengers at this time.
Again, we will be keenly awaiting the opportunity to see Migaloo, the famous albino humpback whale. Last year it was a once-in-a-lifetime treat for awe-struck passengers aboard Quicksilver's Outer reef Cruise when they saw Migaloo playing off Port Douglas, 3 nautical miles north of Snapper Island on 21 July.
Humpback whales regularly migrate from Antarctic waters along the east coast of Australia every winter. Humpback whales 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.