Sunreef Mooloolaba, Queensland launches swimming with humpback whales
by Shamoli Dutt

24-06-2014

SUNREEF Mooloolaba is launching, what it claims is an Australian first, the opportunity to swim with humpback whales.

The program starts 6 July and will continue until the end of the whale watching season.

Visitors will now have the opportunity to see these gentle giants from a very different perspective on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Sunreef Whale Encounter supervisor, Dan Hart, said the company was excited to be offering this great experience.

“I swam with humpback whales in Tonga and it is something very special.

“It’s a life changing experience – to have a humpback whale just a couple of metres away looking you right in the eye. It’s indescribable.

“It gives you such a sense of these amazing creatures and we are excited to be able to offer it to everyone,” he added

The company’s swimming with whales experience is operated under a strict Code of Conduct to protect both the whales and the participants.

Participants who take part in a swim with the humpback whales experience can expect a three-hour round trip with a maximum of 20 participants taken on each trip.

Sunreef provides a full briefing on what to expect and safety procedures as well as providing all required wetsuit and snorkelling equipment.

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 as safe by the trained crew, the engine will be turned off and swimmers will be allowed into the water holding on to the floating line attached to the boat.

“Then it’s all up to the whale – it is a natural experience and it is 100 per cent on the whale’s own terms,” Hart said.

“Whales are known as curious creatures so they may come over towards us or they may just swim past or away. Either way it’s an experience you will never forget,” he said.

Sunreef will use a spotter plane to increase the likelihood of the whale encounter experience. If however, the boat does not see a whale during a tour, guests will be offered the opportunity to rebook at a 50 per cent discount.

Sunreef Scuba Diving Services, based in Mooloolaba, is a PADI 5 Star Training Centre and offers accredited dive courses for all levels of divers as well as local reef dives in the Sunshine Coast region including the ex-HMAS Brisbane.

The whale swimming and watching operations work out of Mooloolaba at the heart of Queensland’s beautiful Sunshine Coast.

It takes about 10 minutes from the company’s dock to get out on the beautiful waters off the Coast, which are at their best during the winter months when the whales migrate.

Water temperatures during this time range from 17 to 23 degrees C and visibility is regularly up to 30 metres.

Details: www.sunreef.com.au or call +61 7 5444 5656

by Shamoli Dutt - Austguide Travel News Editor