'Tis the season for a whale of a time with gentle giants
SUNREEF Mooloolaba will launch into its second "swim with the whales" season on July 4.
"We are so excited," Sunreef Whale Encounter supervisor Dan Hart said.
"The team is already out doing trials and training ready for the start of the season. It's such an awesome experience we just can't wait to start sharing it with people again this year.
Sunreef was the first operator in Australia to offer a "swim with the whales" experience last year.
Mr Hart said the Sunreef team would be out in the water until the start of the season looking for patterns and currents that the whales might follow.
The "swim with the whales" experience is offered from July to October on half-day trips on Sunreef's boats and full day trips on Australia Zoo's research vessel, Croc One.
Mr Hart said Sunreef operated with strict operated within a strict Code of Conduct. The boat was put into neutral once a whale was sighted 100m or more away, and if safe, the boat would be turned off and swimmers allowed into the water holding on to line attached to the boat.
"In our experience, the whales seem as intrigued by us as we are of by them and often come close to swimmers, gliding effortlessly around us, with such a gentleness that its like they recognise our fragility in comparison and know we are there out of wonder and respect," Mr Hart said.
Sunreef Mooloolaba is working closely with researchers from the University of the Sunshine Coast to find out more about the humpback whale species and their environment to help ensure their preservation into the future.