Minke Whale Watching

Minke Whale

It’s Minke Whale season on the Great Barrier Reef. During June/July there are often seen off the coast of Port Douglas and Cairns as they migrate through the region to warm equatorial waters. Some operators like Silversonic are granted a permit by the Marine Park authority to allow their guests to swim with the whales.

Minke whale is a name given to two species of marine mammal belonging to the Baleen whale family.  The name is a partial translation of Norwegian Minkehval, possibly after a Norwegian whaler name Meincke, who mistook a northern Minke whale for a Blue Whale.

The Minke whales are the second smallest Baleen whale; only Pygmy Right Whales are smaller.  Females are around 24 feet in maturity and males are smaller at 23 feet.  Both weigh around 4 to 5 tons, although some weight may be as much as 10 tons.

The Minke whale is a black/grey/purple colour.  Common Minke whales are distinguished from other whales by a white band on each flipper.   They typically live for 30 to 50 years.

The whale breathes three to five times at short intervals before ‘deep-diving’ for two to 20 minutes.  The maximum swimming speed of Minkes has been estimated at 38 km/h.

by Port Douglas Tourist Information Centre

The Port Douglas Tourist Information Centre has been operating since 1987. We are locals and are passionate about our wonderful World Heritage listed region and tropical lifestyle.