14 Incredible Photos that will convince you to book a Minke Whale Expedition

Although named Dwarf Minke Whale, these baleen whales can grow up to 8 meters and 6 tonne, so don’t let that name fool you! Minke whales visit the Great Barrier Reef every year during the winter months, and it’s the only place in the world where the minke whales actively seek out human interaction. I was lucky enough to work on board with Divers Den during the minke whale season as a photographer, and experience these wonderful animals first hand.

Minke Whale Ribbon Reef Great Barrier Reef Queensland Australia
Dwarf Minke Whales visit the Ribbon Reefs every year!

Go where the reef is untouched!

Every June and July, Divers Den take their live aboard vessel, OceanQuest, to the Ribbon Reefs, north of Cairns, to visit the minke whales and experience the incredible untouched reefs. The 12 hour journey is undertaken at night while everyone is sleeping, so you will wake bright and early, ready for the first day of minke whale interaction!

Ribbon Reef Great Barrier Reef Queensland Australia
The Ribbon Reefs – completely untouched
Spine Cheek Anemone Fish Great Barrier Reef Queensland Australia
Spine Cheek Anemone Fish

Let the Minke Whale interaction begin!

Once OceanQuest is moored and minke whales are spotted, a Divers Den employee will set up a minke line (a rope for snorkellers to hold on to) and act as minke bait (the person on the end of the line, holding the minke whales interest). Snorkellers can then enter the water, hold onto the line and watch as the curious minke whales get closer and closer! During your minke whale interaction, you may see over 10 whales over a few hours, meaning theres no need to rush in or out of the water. The only other time I’ve been this close to a whale was with the Whale Sharks in Exmouth!

Swimming with Dwarf Minke Whale Great Barrier Reef Queensland Australia
It’s a snorkel situation when it comes to Minke Whales!
Swimming Minke Whale Great Barrier Reef Queensland Australia
The Minke Whales get closer…
…and closer!
Two Dwarf Minke Whales Great Barrier Reef Queensland Australia
And there can be over 10 Minkes circling you at once!

Support the Dwarf Minke Whale Project

During my weeks on OceanQuest, I was lucky enough to meet Dr Alastair Birtles, who is the head of the Minke Whale Project. When we were lucky enough to have Dr Birtles and his team on board, he would treat us to nightly talks about the insights of minke whale behaviour and research on the whales.

Research on the Dwarf Minke Whale Great Barrier Reef Queensland Australia
Professor Minke diving for Minke skin… that’s right, that’s all skin flakes

Explore the vast marine life

When you’re not swimming with the minke whales, you’re exploring the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, and the untouched locations are just teaming with life, both big and small, rare and common. You’ll see turtles, reef sharks, anemone fish, electric clams, pygmy seahorses… just to name a few. You’ll be amazed by the life on the reef!

Green Turtle Great Barrier Reef Queensland Australia
Grumpy Green Turtle
Anemone Fish Great Barrier Reef Queensland Australia
Barrier Reef Anemone Fish
Stone Fish Great Barrier Reef Queensland Australia
Deadly Stone Fish
Pygmy Seahorse Great Barrier Reef Queensland Australia
Tiny Pygmy Seahorse

Minke Whale interactions are for everyone!

Whilst only 4 short days, this is more than enough time to get your fill of the dwarf minke whales and the Great Barrier Reef. One of the best things abou this expedition is that you can be a snorkeller or a scuba diver! Divers Den caters for both! If you were thinking about going on a Dwarf Minke Whale Expedition with Divers Den, you’ll need to act fast. They sell out very very quickly! You’ll find info here.

Unfortunately you won’t see me on this years Minke Whale Expedition (I wish!), but I’ll always fondly look back on it as one of the best jobs EVER!

Side On Minke Whale Great Barrier Reef Queensland Australia
Minke Whales come to the surface to check you out!
Close up of Dwarf Minke Whale Great Barrier Reef Queensland Australia
Come check them out! (or let them check you out)
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One Reply to “14 Incredible Photos that will convince you to book a Minke Whale Expedition”

  1. Looks like quite the adventure. I’ve never been diving with whales before. The closest I came to it was a few months ago when I was diving in Maui where we could hear whales, but regrettably couldn’t see any.

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