Mooloolaba, Australia: Every year, more and more people are delighting in sightings and encounters with whales, but as summer approaches, Sunreef Mooloolaba is farewelling the last of the Humpback Whales as they make their journey back to the Antarctic where they will spend the summer months resting and feeding on krill.
More than 20,000 whales make the journey up the east coast of Australia, north to Queensland every year arriving in June and July to breed and give birth to their calves before feeding and fattening the calves up ready to make their way south in spring as the water heats up.
Sunreef Whale Encounter supervisor, Dan Hart said that this year there had been an increase in humpback whales passing through Mooloolaba.
“Each year the whale population increases by an estimated 10% and this year we have seen some incredible surface displays and had some absolutely breathtaking in water encounters as well.
“Our season which started on July 4 just got better and better and apart from some weather interruptions we had a great year and as the babies were born we had some incredible experiences with mums and their calves.
“The calves are so curious and their mums so patient – they would just swim around and check us out.
“It’s so special when you get to see these magnificent creatures up close – I am totally in awe every time – and I wonder what they think of us.”
Dan said that the second season of Australia’s first ever swim with the whale experience was a great success.
“This year really saw Swimming with the Whales take off as a tourist attraction for the Sunshine Coast – we had record bookings with guests coming from the US, Canada and Asia and heaps of visitors from Europe, and particularly Germany.
“We are really proud to be promoting our Sunshine Coast region and hope to see even more domestic and international visitors coming to Swim with the Whales,” Dan said. “I also want to thank the researchers from the University of the Sunshine Coast, who have given up lots of their time throughout the season to find out more about the whales and the participants’ perceptions of them.
“It’s really important to us to help the researchers spread the word about these magnificent creatures and to help ensure their preservation through education and we will be continuing this in 2016.”
“There are a limited number of trips available during the season – and to allow for weather postponements and the fact that the experience is 100 per cent on the whales’ terms, we recommend people book two or three encounters to avoid disappointment.”
Sunreef provides a full briefing on what to expect and safety procedures as well as providing all required equipment.
“When on the Sunreef Swim with the Whales experience participants can expect that 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 our trained crew, swimmers will be allowed into the water with a floating line attached to the boat.
Sunreef Swimming with Whales Experiences run from July to October with bookings now open for 2016.
For more information visit www.sunreef.com.au