Since 2016 it has been possible to get in the water and swim with Humpback Whales here at Ningaloo Reef. We traveled to Tonga a few years ago to do this as it was then one of the few places in the world that this was allowed and we had an amazing experience. After this, a whale watching boat was just not the same for us. We decided to try it again here in Australia. It was the end of the whale shark dive season and we told there were not many whale sharks around and the humpbacks were in full swing coming and going on their annual migration.
We warmed up in the sun between dives. Water temp was only 20deg C. This may be warm to some people but we admit we are wimps! Too much tropical diving!
The day started with a snorkel inside the reef where the conditions are more gentle. The wind was blowing and there was a 1 metre swell but we were told the conditions were amazingly good. I’m glad we didn’t have the usual big swell. I drugged myself up with seasick tablets but there were a few people feeling sick on the boat once we got outside the reef. We had a quick look at some coral bommies and the staff saw how everyone was performing with their gear and ability etc. M
It was all pretty amazing and made us forget why we were there. What was amazing is how totally comfortable they are with a bunch of people swimming along next to them watching them eat. At times we had to be careful it didn’t come too close to us. Once all the groups had seen it, they let us get in for another swim with it!
Had we know the limitations with humpback whale swimming in Western Australia beforehand, we would NOT have booked. We would recommend people do this in Tonga where you are allowed to interact with settled mothers and babies who are relaxing. Interestingly in Tonga you are NOT allowed to be dropped in a boat in the path of a moving whale like you are here. We know from our experience in Tonga that if a whale is not happy with you near them they just don’t hang around. They are the boss. M
Having said all that, we had an amazing day with the whale shark and other wildlife and we highly recommend a whale shark swim to everyone to do at least once in your life. It is unforgettable! M