3 Night Fly Dive Minke Whales

3 Nights / 10 Dives.  An expedition dedicated to maximising your in-water interactions at the world’s only known minke whale aggregation sites, whilst enjoying the diverse marine life of the Ribbon Reefs.

2018 Departure dates: 11 June | 18 June | 25 June | 2 July | 9 July.

 

  • Flying Start – Spectacular 250km low level scenic flight over the reef from Cairns to Lizard Island
  • Minkes – Dedicated time to find and swim with the whales
  • Continental Shelf – Dive 100 miles north of Cairns on the edge of the shelf, exposed to currents
  • Ribbon Reefs – great fish and coral diversity
  • Cod Hole – Swim with diver size potato cod
  • Dynamite Pass, Lighthouse Bommie, Pixie Wall, Pixie Pinnacle, Coral Kingdom, Flare Point, Blue Lagoon, Gotham City, Vertical Gardens
  • Steve’s Bommie – a highlight with an incredible array of weird and wonderful creatures.



Minke Whales

A unique opportunity to get face to face with these amazing creatures, and learn more about their biology and behaviour from the research volunteers on board. You may also choose to participate in this research by assisting with behaviour monitoring and other projects.

A flying start

Take a low level scenic flight over the Reef to Lizard Island for a bird’s eye view of some of the reefs you’ll be diving. Captain Cook landed here in 1770, climbing to its peak to search for a way through the labyrinth of coral, and naming the island after the many monitor lizards that live here.

The Ribbon Reefs

The most prized dive region of Great Barrier Reef, this stretch of reef from Lizard Island to Cooktown is also where the minke whales migrate each year to breed and calve. Nutrient rich waters from the Continental Shelf attract abundant fish and coral species.

The Cod Hole

The Cod Hole is famous for its diver-sized potato cod. These fish are incredibly inquisitive and don’t mind getting very chummy with divers. A great opportunity to capture photographs of these magnificent characters or simply hang out and enjoy their company.

Gotham City

A sloping reef, rich with hard and soft corals and reef fish. Minke Whales are sometimes spotted here.   This site makes a very exciting night dive with congregations of hunting fish such as sharks and trevally.

Lighthouse Bommie – Where the Minkes Hang Out

This is one of the best places to see dwarf minke whales but it’s also an excellent dive site in its own right with one large pinnacle attracting tonnes of marine life including sharks, rays, turtles and reef fish, olive sea snakes, stonefish and other critters.

Pixie Pinancle

An exciting pinnacle dive, draped in soft corals and absolutely heaving with fish life.  Spiral your way up the pinnacle and search for interesting critters such as the flame file clam, or ‘disco clam’, named for the flashing light that appears to pulse along its mantle.

Steve’s Bommie

Steve’s Bommie is a photographers dream with an incredible quantity of diverse marine life. Hunt out such creatures as stonefish, scorpionfish, octopus, clown anemone fish and turtles, not to mention the many schools of fish that call this place home.

Success Rate

Since commencing Minke Whale Expeditions in 1996 we have had a 98% success rate. The largest pod seen was 28 whales, the longest encounter was 10 hours. Every day has a high probability of dwarf minke encounters.

If we are not able to locate whales at our reliable sites, up to two hours at a time is spent searching for whales further afield. If none are sighted, we will dive as many of the Ribbon Reef sites as possible.

Itineraries are subject to change, specific marine life cannot be guaranteed.

Photo Credits: Catherine Travers, Vanessa Mignon, David Coll and Mike Ball.

Expedition prices, per person in Australian dollars.

3 NIGHT EXPEDITION: June - July 2017
CabinPrice
Premium$2699
Standard$2465
Club$2184
Budget$1882

Reef Tax $6.50/day
Fuel Levy $0

3 NIGHT EXPEDITION: June - July 2018
CabinPrices
Premium$2780
Standard$2539
Budget$2249
Budget$1939

Reef Tax $6.50/day
Fuel Levy $0

Rates include:

  • Accommodation in twin/double cabins
  • Delicious meals & snacks, complimentary soft drinks and wine with dinner
  • Tanks, air fills and weight belt
  • Daily cabin service
  • Reef ecology programme
  • Dive computer workshop
  • Transfer to the airport or Cairns hotel after your expedition
  • Scenic flight Cairns to Lizard Island
  • Vivid Pix digital photo editing software workshop

Please note that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority requires us to collect an Environmental Management Charge of $6.50 per day spent on the Great Barrier Reef.  This amount will be added to your bar bill at the end of your expedition.

Click on the links here for extras such as dive courses, photo services and gear hire, plus discounts available.

Premium – queen or double bed, private bathroom, sea view
Standard – twin beds, private bathroom, sea view
Club – twin bunk beds, private bathroom, no sea view
Budget – twin bunk beds, share bathroom, no sea view

Itinerary

Sample itinerary, subject to change based on conditions.

Monday:  (3 dives)

  • Check in at our office (3 Abbott St, Cairns) between 6.30 and 7am.
  • 7. 15 am:  Transfer to Cairns Airport
  • 8.00 am:  Board a light aircraft for a low level flight over the reef to Lizard Island (flight time approx. 1 hour).
  • Board Spoilsport mid-morning where you will be served drinks and snacks while our Trip Director gives you a welcome briefing.
  • Time to organise any rental equipment and put your dive gear together on the dive deck.
  • 12.45 pm: Dive brief and dive
  • 2.00 pm:  Lunch
  • 3.45 pm:  Dive brief and dive
  • 4.45 pm:  Afternoon tea
  • 6.00 pm:  Dive brief and night dive
  • 8:00 pm:  Dinner

Tuesday:  (4 dives + night dive)

This is a sample of a ‘typical day’, however exact times may vary to optimise the prevailing weather conditions on the day.

  • 6.30 am: Wake up call, light breakfast available in dining room
  • 7:00 am: Dive brief & diving commences
  • 9.00 am: Full cooked breakfast
  • 10.30 am: Dive brief & diving. “Open decks” accommodate 1-2 dives either am or pm.
  • 2.00 pm: Lunch
  • 3.30 pm: Dive brief & diving
  • 4:30 pm: Afternoon tea
  • 6:30 pm: Night dive brief & dive
  • 8:00 pm: Dinner

Wednesday:  (4 dives)

  • As per above. Exit last dive 5pm
  • As the sun sets we pour the champagne, lay out the nibbles and get ready for an Aussie BBQ party night. Don’t forget to wear your loudest tropical shirt or dress and sing along to music played by our talented crew.
  • Spoilsport cruises back to Cairns overnight.

Thursday:

  • Early morning docking.
  • 7.00 am: Light breakfast
  • 8:00 am: Disembark and courtesy transfer to Cairns inner city hotels, the airport or our office where we can store your luggage until 5pm if you have a later flight.

Important:

  • We recommend that you allow 24 hours between your last dive and your onward flight (all diving is finished by 5pm Wednesday).
  • A luggage allowance applies to the flight from Cairns to Lizard Island:
    • 25kg / 55lb per person plus 3kg / 6.5lb – carry on.
    • An additional 10kg/22lb is allowed for professional photo/video housed systems.
Summary
Minkes and Best Biodiversity
Experience
Snorkelers, novice & advanced divers
Embark
Monday 7am - Mike Ball Office, Cairns
Disembark
Thursday 8am - Trinity Wharf, Cairns
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