Swimming with whales 2015
There are few places in the world where you can swim with whales, entering the water and relating to them on their terms. In 2014 Sunreef Diving Services in Mooloolaba was the first in Australia To make it possible for people to swim with the magnificent Humpback whales that come to the Sunshine Coast each winter. The swimming with whales 2015 season will begin on the 4th of July. This year there will be two different experiences on offer: a half day off the Sunreef vessel or a one day experience on the Australia Zoo research vessel Croc One. On Wednesday September 10th, 2014 one of the Northwind Apartment managers went out with the Sunreef crew to experience a close encounter with whales. He was impressed with the preparation for the trip. All wetsuits and snorkelling gear is included in the price for the trip. Safety concerns are paramount and instructions were clear. There is a maximum number of 20 guests on the boat for each trip which last for 3 hours. The encounters are conducted in accordance with the Australian National Guidelines for Whale and Dolphin Watching and Sunreef also has its own code of practice which has been developed with whale researchers and experts to ensure the protection of these magnificent creatures. Sunreef is working with the University of the Sunshine Coast on a co-ordinated research project to increase the knowledge around humpback whales. After equipment had been issued the crew and visitors were loaded into vans and transported to the Sunreef dock, about 10 minutes away. Then onto the boat and through the canals to the Mooloolah River mouth and out to sea. The three whales they spotted were travelling with a pod of about 9 dolphins. They came very close to the boat and seemed very curious about what was going on. One seemed to slide under the boat up side down. It was great to see the whales and dolphins together. Swimmers slipped into the water holding a safety line and waited for the whales and dolphins to come close. Some were happy to stay in the boat and enjoy the close encounter from a different perspective. These encounters can only take place during the whale season, June through November when the whales are either heading north to Hervey Bay to give birth to the calves or later in the seaon when they are heading south with the young calves.