The magnificent humpback whale visits the Whitsunday Islands every year during the winter months to have their babies and enjoy the warm waters. From July to October, the waters of the Whitsundays are full of these beautiful creatures, which take part in their annual pilgrimage from the antarctic up the east coast of Australia.
On this journey large males or "bulls" play together, which gives people the opportunity to see natural whale behaviour up close. In the Whitsundays, these displays can be seen from the many boat tours that cruise around the calm waters. You might see a cheeky glance, a strong fin slap or even an enormous breach, when the whales in can soar up to 3 meters into the air only to come come crashing back down into a plume of water and white spray. Despite their size, these acrobatic animals have been known to put on quite a show that demonstrates both strength and agility.
Females come to warmer waters to have their babies, or to accompany their young that they have along the way. If guests are lucky, they may be able to witness a newborn first hand, and watch a mother help her offspring to take its first breaths. The warm calm waters provide protection where they can teach their young in relative safety before the winter season ends and they had back down to cooler waters.
Watch these gentle giants of the oceans from the serenity of your vessel and learn more about their behaviour from our experienced and knowledgeable Whitsunday Catamarans crew. Many people say that seeing whales in the wild is a lifelong dream and here in the Whitsundays is where that dream may become a reality!
Whale watching involves many senses. As well as seeing whales, you can hear the characteristic sounds of the blow, breach, or fin slap. Divers and snorkellers can sometimes even hear the beautiful whale song while they are spending time under the ocean in this animal's territory. It's believed their songs can travel thousands of kilometres across great stretches of ocean.
If you do see a humpback whale, don't be surprised at it's sheer size. Adults range in length from 12–16 metres and weigh approximately 36,000 kilograms. That's 39 tons, or the equivalent of 39 cars.
Males produce a complex whale song, which lasts for 10 to 20 minutes and is repeated for hours at a time. While the the purpose of the song is not yet know, it is assumed that it has something to do with mating.
Humpback whales typically migrate up to 25,000 kilometres each year. Humpbacks feed in summer in the cold waters of the arctic and antarctic, only migrating to tropical and subtropical waters to birth and raise their calves. During this time, they fast and live off their fat reserves only, meaning that they don't feed at all while in the Whitsundays. During feeding season, humpback's diet consists mostly of krill and small fish, which is plentiful in colder waters. While they are here, you'll get to see them play, teach their young and put off beautiful and unforgettable acrobatic displays.