Swimming with Earth’s largest mammals is not an experience one will forget quickly. Whilst there are plenty of whale-watching trips across the globe, there are only select locations that allow you to swim alongside these creatures in their native habitat.
These unique trips, both home and away, give animal lovers the chance to get up close and personal with this elusive and majestic beast, whilst also ensuring the whale’s natural environment is respected and preserved.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Swimming with humpbacks has never been easier for Aussies as Sunreef last year launched three hour day trips from the Sunshine Coast. There are spotter planes to increase the likelihood of an encounter, however if your boat fails to spot a whale you’ll be invited to rebook the trip with a 50% discount. They’re also working with the University of the Sunshine Coast to increase the knowledge around these fascinating creatures – every whale swim trip will reserve two seats for University of the Sunshine Coast researchers so they can carry out their field work at no cost.
Silversonic has one of the few permits available from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority that allows guests to swim with dwarf minke. The inquisitive minke whales voluntarily approach swimmers, deciding for themselves how they would like to interact with us. Departing from Port Douglas, you’ll spend five hours on the Great Barrier Reef.
Pacific Islands, Mozambique and the Dominican Republic
For a Pacific Island getaway, Whaleswim Adventures organise a range of trips that let you swim with humpbacks in Tonga. Their Paradise Islands & Gentle Giants tour lets you spend a week on the water with their dedicated “whale-whispering” crew, plus accommodation in two luxury island resorts. You’ll see reefs, caves and hopefully more than a couple whales. Prices start at $AUD4,560 for seven nights.
For an extended adventure, luxury African travel service Journeys By Design offer a tailored package that lets you swim with humpbacks. Mozambique is fortunate enough to act as calving nursery to the humpback whale, which can be found in its waters from between July and October. Accommodation is in luxury beach resorts or lodges. A ten-day trip starts from $US10,000.
Incredible Adventures lets you cruise the Dominican Republic in style. Keen marine life spotters can spend a week aboard their luxury vessel, The Sun Dancer II, which moors at The Sanctuary for the Marine Mammals of the Dominican Republic for the duration of the voyage. Only 60 visitors are permitted each week and regulations to ensure the integrity of the Sanctuary and safety of the whales are carefully followed. A Master Stateroom costs $US3,645 per person, not including airfare.