SUNREEF Mooloolaba is launching an Australian first – the opportunity to swim with the captivating humpback whales.
Australians have long had a love affair with these gentle giants and now people have the opportunity to see them from a very different perspective on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.
Sunreef Whale Encounter Supervisor Dan Hart said Sunreef 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."
Dan said the swimming with whales experience was 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.
Dan said Sunreef provide a full briefing on what to expect and safety procedures as well as providing all required wetsuit and snorkeling 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 our trained crew, the boat 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% on the whale's own terms," Dan 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.
'In our experience, the whales seem as intrigued by us as we are of them and often come close to swimmers, gliding effortlessly around us, with such a gentleness that its like they recognise our fragility in comparison and know we are there out of wonder and respect," Dan said.
'Our first Swim with the Whales experiences will run from the 6th of July and we will continue to offer them throughout the season," Dan said.
Dan said that every day is different on the water, and every encounter is unique.
Sunreef have access to a spotter plane to increase the likelihood of participants whale encounter. If however, the boat does not see a whale during a tour, guests will be offered the opportunity to rebook at a 50% discount.
Sunreef 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 and offers international dive trips and travel as well as dive equipment sales and servicing.
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 Sunreef 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.
Sunreef Scuba Diving Services, based in Mooloolaba is the longest established dive centre on the Sunshine Coast (Queensland, Australia) with roots starting back in 1976.
For more information on Sunreef and swimming with the whales visit www.sunreef.com.au or call 07 5444 5656.