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Whale watching has become a truly unique experience for us and our passengers.

With Humpback whales arriving around June after their long journey from Antarctica heading north along the east coast of Australia, our special and unique marine friends finally reach their calving and breeding grounds at Mission Beach. 

Whilst many humpbacks enjoy staying further south in their usual breeding grounds the humpbacks that travel so much further to Far North Queensland to Mission Beach seem to prefer warmer waters for their chosen calving, courting and breeding for whatever reason.

And that makes our special Humpbacks truly unique as they obviously choose to migrate so much further than many other whales.

Our local whales could be considered to be the true athletes in the migratory journey, moving for example, 1000 klms further north than other whales of the same species. 

Perhaps our unique whales enjoy the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the tropical islands, return to the same breeding grounds or just need a true tropical change, or if they were originally born here, it is difficult to explain why exactly, there could be many factors to explain why,  but our whales keep coming back and they are increasing in numbers from our observations.

With more calves being born than we have noted before and an estimated 10 percent increase every year in Humpback numbers overall, that simply means there are more whales travelling about.

Whilst we often observe whales during our travels to and from the Great Barrier Reef on our Snorkel Adventure, often viewed breaching or frolicking about with friends, at times, certain whales actually ' chase'  the boat to signal us to stop so they can visit. 


Other times, whales will disappear in the distance to ultimately pop up right by us, almost close enough to touch.

There is no doubt in my mind, that Humpback whales remember us from one year to the next and find a close-up experience with us, just as exciting as we do.

So we have considered the number of engagements the whales have enjoyed with us and the fact they roll around on their backs and sides as a personal whale invitation that they would like to engage with us.

This is of course, at a time that suits them.

Sometimes certain whales spend quite a few minutes considering if they will approach us, other times we observe whales in an apparent head on discussion about it, floating about on the surface engaging with each other. 

But once they have decided to approach us there is no turning back then as we observe them pop up along side, behind or off the bow.

Once there is an approx. 35 tonne whale beside us,  this really is a sight to be seen.

What happens when we stop the boat?

As we slow down, whales catch up and can be seen on both sides and/or and including following us from the stern of the vessel or a number can be seen approaching the vessel at what seems like 'high speed', at times there are audible sounds they make from above the water.


It is not possible to determine exactly why this occurs.

However, after they  noticed us initially 4 years ago, the Humpbacks took little interest in us, sometimes disappearing altogether.

And then, something changed for them in the second year.

The whales started to chase us. 


Did ' Clyde' the bottlenose dolphin talk to the whales about us years ago and shared the ' we are alright to associate with' discussion?

Do these intelligent creatures even discuss such matters?

Well, I think they do !

If dolphins can organise with a whale to round up fish and there is a pod of dolphins working at the front of the whale to round the fish , the whale then smashes its tail to stun the fish , and other dolphins remain behind to consume the fish, of course there is an intelligent discussion on fishing!

Believe it or not ?  We recorded this practice last year, 2017.

Marine life are no doubt talking to each other all the time. As humans, we have little understanding or even hear the communication sounds.

I did note this year Clyde was having a chat with some whales. Most interestingly, Clyde saw us in the distance and was like a missile through 15 knot waves to get to the boat for some 'fun time and to say hello''.

I actually thought there was a torpedo heading straight for us on this day, not realising a Dolphin could move so quickly through waves.

Clyde and Bonnie have been regular visitors to the Reef Express vessel for a number of years now.

What do they discuss with their other mammal marine friends?

Without understanding the language from either highly intelligent species in an exacting fashion,  I am only left to go by body language, posturing and some basic sounds to understand how they are trying to communicate with us.

This is most frustrating indeed.

However, if the intelligent marine life locally give Reef Express the tick of approval, we are behaving in a way they feel comfortable with I think.

I very much look forward to the return of the Humpbacks, and have not stopped looking for them since they departed to return to their polar home.



We are posting some of our whale experiences from 2017 , so if you like, check out our Reef Express youtube channel soon , as we are in the process of releasing video by the end of Feb. 2018,  for  some truly close up whale interactions featuring 'Cocoa and Honey, Jessica 'the Angel' and Eddie' amongst others.


Did you know that plastic is dangerous to marine life ?

Plastic and other waste materials that may be discarded on land may end up out at sea and can cause serious illness or death to our precious marine life.

As can marine litter.

We encourage everyone to consider where your rubbish items could end up after use.

Plastic free oceans for all of us.