Of all the species that travel through the Great Barrier Reef, perhaps none are met with more anticipation than the migrating Humpback Whales, which journey to the reef during the winter months. From early June though to early October, Humpbacks visit the reef for many of the same reasons as their human counterparts: to socialize, eat, and swim in the still-warm waters. Travelling in large groups (called pods) these whales often display behaviors that make for a spectacular show to onlookers. Breaching headfirst out of the water, slapping their tails, and raising their fins out of the water all provide spectacular experiences for guests aboard Passions of Paradise.
In addition to Humpbacks, the Dwarf Minke Whale also visits the reef during the winter months. While not usually seen close to the reef flats, Dwarf Minkes can be seen swimming in the open ocean. These small whales are extremely curious, and will often approach boats, divers, and snorkelers to get a better view. While sightings from our vessel are rare, simply keeping an eye out for these gentle creatures provides another exciting activity for our passengers while travelling to and from the reef.
Recently, Passions of Paradise has helped the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority promote its “Eye on the Reef Sightings Network” App. This app allows visitors to the reef a chance to log what animals they see, with this information going straight to the Marine Park Authority’s database. This app is perfect for uploading sightings of whales, and Passions of Paradise is committed to supporting these research efforts aboard our vessel. This app allows staff and visitors alike the chance to document the movements of Humpbacks throughout the reef, document behaviors during interactions, and other useful data such as numbers of adults, juveniles, and any other interesting observations. So, during your trip aboard Passions of Paradise, whether you are an avid whale watcher of simply wish to get a first glimpse of these gentle giants, we encourage you to download the app, keep your eyes peeled, have your camera ready, and prepare for a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Post by Russell Hosp
Passions of Paradise Environmental & Sustainability Coordinator