Enjoy Ocean Reef Time Swimming With Dwarf Minke Whales

By Josh •  Updated: 08/11/23 •  7 min read

The inquisitive side of human nature drives them to seek out mysterious experiences. They are always on the lookout for new and interesting adventures to see and know the unknown.

But did you know that other species also have this curiosity about us, just as we have it about them?

Dwarf Minke Whales are one of the smallest baleen whales on earth. They are also the friendliest whales for their curious dolphin-like nature around people. If you are an avid adventurer, swimming with minke whales is sure to give you the most ethereal experience of a lifetime.

Over the years, researchers have studied the dwarf minke whales’ travel patterns and gradually found ways for tourists to swim with these majestic creatures.

So, let’s have a look at how and where it’s possible to swim with the dwarf minke whales and know about the necessary precautions as well.

Dwarf Minke Whale, a curious species of whale that migrates up the East Coast of Australia through the Great Barrier Reef
Dwarf Minke Whale, a curious species of whale that migrates up the East Coast of Australia through the Great Barrier Reef

Ocean Swimming with Dwarf Minke Whales in Port Douglas

The only place where it is possible to swim with dwarf minke whales is in the Great Barrier Reef.

Even though these small baleen whales live in all oceans throughout the planet, the Great Barrier Reef is the only spot where you can have a face-to-face encounter with them.

The Great Barrier Reef is in Queensland, Australia, and Port Douglas is the most viable option for tourists to reach this magnificent reef.

Where Can You Swim with Dwarf Minke Whales in Port Douglas?

To swim with dwarf minke whales in Port Douglas, you need to find a service that offers various tour packages in the Great Barrier Reef.

These services require a special permit from the Australian marine authority to arrange these tours.


The tours only take place when these friendly mammals migrate through the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

The whales stay in the protected waters during the breeding season to keep the pregnant whales safe and secure.

Knowing that they exhibit such intelligence and compassion should be enough of an incentive to swim with dwarf minke whales in Port Douglas.

Here are a few of the tourist facilities that can arrange swimming-with-whales tours for you to see the minke whales up close and personal.

Poseidon Cruises

The Poseidon owns one of the only three permits in the area that allow their tourists to swim with the dwarf minke whales in groups of ten.

They have several day tour packages arranged throughout May to August every year to give everyone a taste of this graceful encounter at Port Douglas.

The Silversonic Series

Silversonic is another one of the facilities with a legal permit from the Marine Authorities to arrange such tours.

Their program titled “The Dwarf Minke Whale Tourism Monitoring Program” was the first officially permitted program to swim with the whales.

The Silversonic arranges several swimming-with-dwarf-minke-whales tours around the Agincourt Ribbon Reefs from July to September.

However, if you are planning to book a tour, it’s best to book it from March to October since that’s the peak migrating season.

Silversonic abides by certain strict codes and policies to ensure maximum safety for tourists.


Calypso Snorkel & Dives

Finally, the last one with a proper swimming-with-whales permit is the Calypso Snorkel & Dives Tour Facility.

They depart from Port Douglas and offer a full-day trip around three special reef sites including the Opal and Agincourt Reefs.

As the name itself suggests, Calypso is famous for its snorkeling and diving tours. For their swimming with minke whales package, they allow up to 10 people at a time to encounter the whales.

They are connected by a safety rope and proper precautions are strictly maintained at all times.

When to Visit Port Douglas To Swim with Dwarf Minke Whales?

Dwarf Minke Whales migrate around the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef from July to August.

They usually travel in large groups and often stop to visit other swimmers in the area due to their inquisitive nature. So, this would be the right time to travel to Port Douglas to swim with these whales.

However, the number of minke whales visiting the port every year continues to fluctuate due to several geographical and environmental conditions.

Is It Safe to Swim with Dwarf Minke Whales?

Unlike most other whales, the dwarf minke whales aren’t aggressive at all in their behavior. Instead, their sweet and friendly nature makes them the perfect companion to swim with.

As they are curious about their surroundings, they will often come up and swim around you to get to know you better.

They will also sometimes put their head over the water or do a few flips around you to let you know how playful they are.

As long as you don’t go out of your way to aggravate them somehow, they will continue to be friendly and comfortable in your presence.

Precautions While Swimming with Dwarf Minke Whales

Even though they are playful, they are still sentient animals and you need to behave appropriately in their presence.

Always remember that you are the one visiting them in their natural habitat and whatever happens, these whales are in control of the waters.

Here are a few tips you can adhere to while swimming with dwarf minke whales in Port Douglas to ensure maximum safety for both the whales and visitors:

Do not cause much noise or vibration

The dwarf minke whales are highly sensitive to loud noises and excessive vibrations. Often in the deep sea, these vibrations are how they find local boats or cruise ships and investigate the surrounding areas.

So, don’t bring anything in the swimming zone that vibrates loudly or causes much noise as that can slightly deflect their navigating power.

Do not make hasty or sudden movements

This is an extension of the first one. Hasty movements can sometimes spook or rattle the whales due to the sudden increase in vibration.

Be respectful and try to be calm and serene while you are around these magnificent animals. Just remember that they won’t do anything to you unless you give them a reason too. So, keep your nerves as best you can.

Do not use flashes or bright lights underwater

Bright lights can trigger sudden photosensitivity in both the whales and other tourists around you. This can lead you to spook the whales and cause some serious accidents.

Therefore, before taking a camera down there, get it approved by a professional tour guide or diver.

Do not try to feed anything to the dwarf minke whales

This is a pretty obvious rule. And it goes with pretty much every interaction with wild animals. Never feed them. Searching for prey is as important for wild animals like minke whales as eating them.

Tourist feeding may cause minke whales to become dependent on them or cause health complications like obesity, malnutrition, and many other diseases.

They are carnivores and they are very much capable of collecting prey and food by themselves. Remember, you are in their territory and not the other way around.

Do not let go of the safety line

Every trip arranged by the permitted facilities adheres to a strict set of guidelines. One such guideline is to use a safety rope or line that all the ten tourists need to hold by at all times.

This is to ensure that you don’t end up invading the whale’s personal space. It also helps the tour guide to constantly communicate with the passengers and watch over them.


So, it goes without saying how fun and exciting swimming with minke whales can be in real life.

Being able to witness the ethereal scenery of a minke whale’s glistening appearance in the afternoon sunlight is as sublime an experience as it possibly gets.

And who knows, maybe they too feel like tourists from the distant ocean visiting their land friends.


Josh is a loving dad and husband, writer, business owner, and someone who loves to explore the world. He last travelled to Australia to visit Sydney, Brisbane, and Cairns and am looking to head back soon to see more! He is a huge fan of hiking, drawing, and so much more!

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