Every year, Queensland’s coastal waters become a playground for one of the ocean’s most magnificent creatures: the humpback whale. From June to November, thousands of these gentle giants make their annual migration from the icy feeding grounds of Antarctica to the warm breeding waters off Queensland’s coast. This incredible journey, spanning up to 10,000 kilometres, provides a unique opportunity for locals and tourists alike to witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of humpback whales breaching, tail-slapping, and singing their enchanting songs. 

Here at Gold Coast Dive Adventures, our scuba diving trips are greatly amplified with the presence of the whale migration each year. Our boat rides are enriched with the sightings of whales along the way to our dive sites, and our dives set to the songs of the whales. Every once in a while, we might even be lucky enough to have the truly unforgettable experience when whales happen cross our paths underwater (check out the link below for one of our most beautiful underwater sightings!).

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Whale Watching: A Safe and Responsible Adventure

As we embark on whale-watching adventures, it’s crucial to remember that our actions can significantly impact these majestic creatures. Here are some guidelines to ensure that our interactions with whales are safe and respectful:

  1. Maintain a Safe Distance: Boats should keep at least 100 meters away from whales. If a whale approaches the boat, put the engine in neutral and allow the whale to pass.
  2. Limit Viewing Time: Spend no more than 30 minutes with a group of whales to minimise stress and disturbance.
  3. Avoid Loud Noises: Keep noise levels down. Loud sounds can distress whales and disrupt their natural behaviours.
  4. Follow Speed Regulations: Maintain a slow speed (no more than 6 knots) within 300 meters of whales to reduce the risk of collisions.
  5. No Chasing or Feeding: Never chase, feed, or attempt to touch whales. These actions can be harmful to both whales and humans.

By adhering to these guidelines, we can enjoy unforgettable encounters with humpback whales while ensuring their safety and well-being.

 

Human-Induced Threats to Whales in Queensland

Despite their size and strength, humpback whales face numerous threats from human activities. Understanding these threats is the first step in mitigating them and protecting these magnificent creatures for future generations.

  1. Entanglement in Fishing Gear and Shark Nets: Whales often become entangled in shark nets and fishing lines, which can cause severe stress, injury or death. Here on the Gold Coast, the biggest risk of entanglement is the shark nets that permanently fixed along sections of our the beaches, causing multiple incidents with whales each year. 
  2. Ship Strikes: Collisions with vessels are a significant threat, particularly in busy shipping lanes. Implementing speed restrictions and designated shipping routes and maintaining a proper lookout can help reduce the risk of ship strikes.
  3. Noise Pollution: Increased underwater noise from shipping, industrial activities, and military exercises can interfere with whales’ communication, navigation, and feeding. Reducing noise pollution through better regulation and quieter ship technologies is essential.
  4. Plastic Pollution: Ingestion of plastic debris can be fatal to whales. Reducing plastic use and improving waste management practices are vital steps in protecting marine life.
  5. Climate Change: Changes in sea temperature and prey availability due to climate change can impact whale migration patterns and health. Addressing climate change through global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is critical for the future health of our ocean ecosystems. 

Protecting Our Ocean Giants

The humpback whale migration is not only a breathtaking natural phenomenon but also a reminder of the delicate balance within our marine ecosystems. By taking responsible actions and advocating for stronger protections, we can help ensure that future generations will continue to witness the majesty of humpback whales in Queensland’s waters.

Whether you’re a local resident or a visitor, participating in responsible whale-watching and supporting conservation efforts are meaningful ways to contribute to the well-being of these incredible creatures. Together, we can make a difference and celebrate the humpback whales’ journey, ensuring they thrive for years to come.

Although we can’t guarantee whale sightings from the boat on our journeys to and from our dive sites, it’s very unlikely that we won’t see any – this is basically a bonus whale watching tour for all of our divers!

For more information on our scuba diving excursions, check out our dive trips page. Maybe you’ll win the jackpot and witness one of these incredible creatures underwater…