The Humpback Whales are back and the 2020 Whale Watching Season on the Sunshine Coast has begun, presenting a special opportunity for locals and Queenslanders.
Sunreef Mooloolaba’s Dan Hart said this year’s whale watching season started a little later than usual due to COVID-19 but that with restricted numbers on board it offers a special experience.
“This year we started a couple of weeks later than usual, but we have our COVID SAFE plan in place which includes additional cleaning and hygiene measures as well as a restriction on the number of people on board,” Dan said.
“While normally we would have up to 100 guests onboard each whale watching trip on Whale One, at this stage we are hosting just 20 guests for each trip.
“This means there is plenty of extra room to move around the boat and see the whales from all Whale One’s vantage points.”
Dan said this year’s season was expected to be better than ever with whale researchers predicting the number of humpback whale migrating up Australia’s east coast to continue to increase.
“This year will see an expected 35,000 humpback whales migrate through Sunshine Coast waters, which could attract about 25,000 people to take a closer look and participate in a whale watching or swim with whales experience.
“While final numbers of guests for the season will depend on the continuing easing of COVID-19 restrictions, we are always super excited to welcome the whales and to give guests the opportunity to get closer to them.
“While all of us humans have been restricting our movements, no one told the whales, so their migration is on track with other years.
“We are already seeing good numbers of whales including some calves and expect this to continue throughout the season.”
Dan said whale watching tours would be aboard Whale One, which underwent a total refurbishment last year, while Swim with Whales tours would be onboard Sunreef’s fast boats, Wild One, and the brand-new purpose-built Tsunami, which Sunreef took delivery of in March.
“Whale Watching season is an economic driver for the tourism sector, during what is traditionally a quieter period,” Dan said.
“It’s even more important this year as the region begins its recovery following the COVID-19 shutdown.”
“Whale Watching brings in visitors, who spend not just on whale watching but also on accommodation, hospitality and other attractions, which in turn creates employment so we are super proud to be playing our part,” Dan said.
“Whale One has taken hundreds of thousands of people whale watching since she was first launched in 2007, and we are proud to have her as part of our fleet and to also have introduced Swimming with Humpback Whales to Australia.” Dan Hart said the whale watching season would run through until 1st November, with the Swim with Whales season to run from 4th July to 18th October.
He said as part of Sunreef’s commitment to marine conservation, they will again be working closely with researchers from the University of the Sunshine Coast to find out more about the humpback whale species, with two spots on each Whale Watching and Swim with Whales boats reserved for their use.
To find out more or book your Whale Watching or Swim with Whales experience, visit www.sunreef.com.au or call 07 5444 5656.