On an annual basis Abyss Scuba Diving organize a trip to dive and snorkel with the Minke whales around Lizard Island. Minke whales are commonly seen along the Ribbon Reefs north of Cairns between May and August. At the peak of their activity late June/ early July we conduct special Minke Whale Expeditions with 2 Day specifically dedicated to locating and observing minkes’ at close range under water either snorkeling and/or diving with minke whales.
Dwarf minke whales are the smallest of the baleen whales. They have a characteristic white band on each fin that contrasts with a very dark grey fin tip; these markings are as individual as fingerprints. They have 2 blowholes, like all baleen whales. A fully developed adult is approximately 7-9 meters in length and 5-7 tonnes in weight. Minke whales have a layer of blubber several inches thick and are quite sleek in appearance.
Katy McGregor Comments: So many amazing things to see – the minkes were gorgeous, as well as the fun i learnt a lot too. The lovely spoilsport crew looked after us above & below the water & fed us fantastic food to keep us going. And last but not least – Thanks Cem!
Snorkel and Diving with Minke Whales
Dwarf minkes’ are renowned for their curiosity and approachability. They also have behavior similar to humpbacks such as breaching, tail slapping and spy hopping, though not to the same extent as their larger cousins. Thys are social creatures and are often seen traveling in pods. Communication between whales is a series of grunts, moans and rasping sounds.Breathing for minke whales is achieved by surfacing and taking air into their lungs through the two blowholes, which are located near the top of the head. They can submerge for 20-25 minutes; however they usually make shorter dives of 10-12 minutes and can swim up to 12 knots for short periods.
Breeding occurs predominantly in late winter and early spring in warm waters near the surface. The gestation period is approximately 10 months and the calf is born close to the surface. A newborn calf will instinctively swim to the surface for its first breathe assisted by the mother. Incredibly, within 30 minutes of birth the calf can swim, dive and surface for air. Weighing in at about 454 kilograms and 2.8 meters the calf is nurtured by its mother’s milk, being weaned after 5-6 months. At sexual maturity they are 6-8 years. The life span for dwarf minke whales is unknown; other baleen whales live 50-60 years.
Belinda Thompson Comments: Absolutely fantastic! Diving was amazing, the minke whales came to play, the crew were fantastic, the food so good expect to put on a few kilos! New friends and dive buddies and great Abyss instructor! Recommend this trip.
Check out our next minke whale expedition