This is what swimming with dwarf minke whales is really like [video]

“The things I’ve seen… most people will never see this in their life.”

Want to know what it’s like to come face-to-face with a dwarf minke whale? In this episode of Into the Sunshine, we explore the underwater magic of the Great Barrier Reef with dive instructor Shona Whittaker.

If Shona could live under the sea, she would. Hailing from New Zealand, the would-be mermaid has spent much of her young life diving and exploring some of the most beautiful coves on earth, but it wasn’t until over a year ago that she landed her ultimate dream job, living and working on the Great Barrier Reef.

In the only place in the world where humans can snorkel with beautiful minke whales, Shona spends her days escorting travellers on expeditions through the Ribbon Reefs of Tropical North Queensland.

Though highly interactive, dwarf minkes are an elusive species. Showing up on the reef every June and July, the friendly visitors are the focus of a collaborative research effort between local tourism operators and James Cook University.

Operating minke swim and dive packages for almost 20 years, Mike Ball Dive Expeditions allows you to contribute directly to ongoing tracking, tagging and conservation efforts.

Departing Cairns, trips range from four to seven nights and include up to a massive 22 dives. Find out more or book your expedition here.

* Special thanks to Julia Sumerling Underwater Films & Mike Ball Dive Expeditions for contributing some of the amazing underwater shots seen in this episode.




  • Trace@TravelEggs

    Definitely another world down there. What an awesome experience, are Minke whales around all year or do they have seasonal migrations?

    • http://queensland.com/blog Queensland Blog

      It sure is Trace. Minke whales gather on the Great Barrier Reef during June and July, before heading back to deeper waters.

      • Trace@TravelEggs

        Wow, they aren’t around for long at all. Will have to put GBR on the calendar during those months then!