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Eye to Eye Marine Encounters | Whale Watching

Close encounters of the minke kindBeautiful dwarf minke whale, AustraliaUp close and personal with a dwarf minke whale, Great Barrier Reef"Best whale encounter in the world"Wildlife encounters, Australia

Swim with Dwarf Minke Whale Expeditions

For a few months each year Dwarf minke whales appear in the northern waters of the Great Barrier Reef. While visiting the tropics they a show a remarkable interest in people/boats and often maintain close and prolonged in-water encounters (which can last for several hours!). This remarkable behaviour happens no-where else in the world and has allowed for a small and sustainably managed swim with whale industry to emerge.

John Rumney and his team at Eye to Eye Marine Encounters (formerly Undersea Explorer) helped pioneer this industry and were instrumental in the development of the dwarf minke whale watching guidelines, which have been adopted by the IWC as Best Practice and have helped in the creation of similar legislation in several other countries. 

Eye to Eye Marine Encounters offers scheduled and custom swim with dwarf minke whale expeditions each June/July. As world leaders in sustainable and eco friendly whale interactions (all encounters are carried out on the whale's terms) they strive to provide each guest with an unforgettable marine experience.

For this year's prices/dates go to: http://www.marineencounters.com.au/itinerary_minke.htm

 

Months

June • July

Duration

Multi-day

Vessel types

Live-aboard boat • Small boat (0-50 passengers)

Times and prices

For up to date trip schedules and prices please visit our website at:

http://www.marineencounters.com.au/itinerary_minke.htm

About our skippers and naturalist guides

 

Eye to Eye Marine Encounters is a locally run family business with over 30 years of experience on the Great Barrier Reef.  John Rumney (previously of Undersea Explorer Adventure Diving and Research) and his team go above and beyond to provide great wildlife encounters and unlike other operators, keep a flexible itinerary (selecting sites based on weather conditions and seasonal marine highlights) to guarantee that passengers get the best out of each dive site.


Eye to Eye Marine Encounters also provides free spaces to researchers from the Minke Whale Project who conduct fieldwork whilst on board, adding another unique and exciting element to these trips. The crew and researchers' attitude, enthusiasm and a constant quest for adventure and fun have won them the respect and loyalty of many passengers who return year after year to join in these unique expeditions.

 

If you are interested in learning more about dwarf minke whales visit: www.minkewhales.com.au

 

 

 

 

Facilities

Access to wheelhouse • Deck with 360?vision • Hands-on materials (bones, shells etc) • Naturalist guide(s) as well as skipper • On board hydrophone • On board video • Onboard research • Posters / displays / maps • Public participation in research • Reading material available • Restrooms / toilets on board • Scenic backdrop to encounters • Snacks / drinks • Support conservation • Swim / snorkel included • Use a code of conduct

We frequently

Listen to whale song • Listen to whales and dolphins • See a whale's tail • Swim with them in the wild • Watch whales only

Baleen Whales

Minke Whale

Ocean Dolphins

Bottlenose Dolphin • Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin • Indo-Pacific Humpback Dolphin • Irrawaddy Dolphin • Spinner Dolphin

Other wildlife and points of interest

Our swim-with-whale trips focus on Dwarf minke whales - a small subspecies of the Antarctic Minke, only discovered in the 80's. Researchers from the Minke Whale Project in collaboration with Eye to Eye Marine Encounters (formerly Undersea Explorer) have been studying and observing these whales for the past 15 years and believe that they seek out the warm tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef to court, mate and give birth. What makes the Dwarf minkes so special and has earned them the title of ‘wold’s friendliest whale’ is their intense interest in people and boats. This curiosity has lead to in-water encounters lasting many hours and sometimes bringing them within a few feet of swimmers! No two encounters are ever alike, with the mood and energy of each encounter changing according to the number of whales present, sea conditions, time of year and of course the personalities of individuals in the group. It is often hard to figure out who gets the most out of these unique meetings, the whales or the people. But one thing is clear – all parties involved thoroughly enjoying themselves. For an expose on one of our trips featured on Channel 7's Sunday Night Program watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ahlj8cPX-J4

Address
PO Box 128
Town / City
Port Douglas
State / County
QLD
Zip / Postcode
4877
Country
Australia
Website
Tel
+61(7)40985417
Email
Annie Marment
Minke Magic
Traveled: 2013-06-20, Reviewed: 2013-08-13
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
Amazing amazing trip - this is my second minke whale trip with Eye to Eye marine encounters and the Rumney family and they just get better and better!! It is great having the researchers & Rumneys on board the trip to answer any questions, as they know these waters, the creatures that live here and the minke whales better than anyone i've met. The crew are all so knowledgeable - on everything!! We had fantastic service and even better diving. These sites are truly the best in the world. It is great to be provided with information about how to keep the reef pristine and in amazing condition for others to also enjoy.
Highly recommend this trip to anyone thinking about doing it and Eye to Eye Marine Encounters -John Rumney and Professor Birdles really do offer a unique unforgettable experience that is life changing! Thankyou JR!!
Maria
Magical minke whales
Traveled: 2013-07-06, Reviewed: 2013-08-10
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
I travelled across the world after hearing about this adventure at Whale Fest 2011. After watching their videos over and over again my expectation were quite high when I boarded the Undersea Explorer in early July. These magical minke whales did not let me down although the windy weather made some of the encounters a bit challenging. I still enjoyed every minute of the tour; whether it was in-water with the minkes, diving or relaxing on board, not to mention the amazing food. The staff was helpful and knowledgable and it was also really interesting talking to the research team and learning about their projects.
Elizabeth Salleras
AMAZING EXPERIENCE
Traveled: 2013-07-06, Reviewed: 2013-08-08
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
This was an amazing experience to be able to get so close to these inquisitive, graceful creatures. We loved the trip in all aspects (despite some bad luck with the weather). The staff were very friendly and informative, with fantastic food served and great diving and snorkeling tours provided. It was inspiring to speak with John Rumney and Dr Alister Bertles- to learn of their passion and dedication to the minke whales over the last 18 years. We highly recommend this experience. Thank you to the Rumney family who continue to provide these trips annually.
Cam McIntosh
Take me back
Traveled: 2013-06-20, Reviewed: 2013-08-07
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
Coming from inland Australia its fair to say I was slightly nervous about spending a week out in the ocean. However, all concerns were put to ease the moment I met the friendly, professional and knowledgeable crew.
The food was amazing and snorkelling through the reefs was a fantastic first time experience for myself.
But without doubt the highlight of the trip is swimming with the minke whales. The encounters where majestic and addictive. The information giving to us on the whales was first class and really added to the experience. You also play your part, albeit a small one, into aiding with the research into the beautiful animals.
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable holiday that I would highly recommend to anyone
Alia Kaderbhai
MAGICAL EXPERIENCES
Traveled: 2013-06-20, Reviewed: 2013-08-07
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
This was a truly amazing and magical experience. The vessel was well equipped and everything was so well organised from start to finish. We were so well looked after and felt so safe. The crew were all lovely, kind and down to earth as well as incredibly experienced and knowledgeable in their fields. The dive sites were well researched and we had incredible encounters with the whales. I could not recommend this trip more highly. It was magical, life changing and moving. I feel so blessed to have had my magical minke encounters..
Tara
Epic whale encounters!
Traveled: 2012-07-08, Reviewed: 2012-10-14
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
Awesome awesome awesome! This was my second Minke trip with Eye to Eye Marine Encounters. These guys run a fantastic business. The focus is always on safe encounters with the whales and there is plenty of information presented at the end of the day to make the experience not only fun but also fascinating! The business runs these trips so well. They only hire very knowledgeable, competent and friendly staff. The boats are very comfortable and are a great space to relax and chat with new friends at the end of the day. The schedule is flexible but always has the right mix of activities and relaxing time. This is easily the most amazing, up close, eye to eye natural encounter I can ever imagine to have. A must do! I'm saving my pennies to go back next year with Eye to Eye!!
Nicola Blum
Life changing experience
Traveled: 2012-07-10, Reviewed: 2012-10-10
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
What an adventure! This trip with the Rumney family and Professor Birdles was the most amazing experience I've ever had. The passion of the eye to eye marine encounters team is inspiring and is a life changing experience. Friends had spoken so highly of this tour and it surpassed these high expectatiions and much more. The tour displayed the perfect balance of in water experience and out of water whale education. Furthermore, the meals were delicious and the staff were lovely. To be up so close to the whales is such an amazing experience. This year was my first trip but definitely not my last! If you are reading this review and wondering whether to go, don't wonder just book it in!
Dave M
Perfection!
Traveled: 2011-07-14, Reviewed: 2012-09-28
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
I have travelled with Eye to Eye twice now and know the family well - their passion for and dedication to swim with whales tourism is as infectious as it is genuine. These guys have found the perfect balance between adventure, education, research and relaxation which, for me, culminated in the best experience of my life. Never have I felt so at one with nature or at ease with my impact on it. I actually felt that our being there with the whales was making a positive impact on the marine environment in that we were gaining valuable information for the researchers that accompanied us(they used our photos to id individual whales to gain info on migration patterns). Having researchers onboard was invaluable to ensuring ethical interactions with the whales as they were the individuals actually responsible for developing the code of practice for swimming with them. It was drilled into us (in a good way) repeatedly that the interactions must be on the whale's terms and that although the crew liked us very much - their primary focus was to ensure the happiness of the whales....something I took great comfort in knowing. These guys are eco-tourism extremists in the sense that their priority is to to protect and promote the marine environment first with tourism merely being a tool that they use to do so and not the other way round - how they do this and still provide a tourism product that is second to none is something to truly be admired.
Jess Lloyd
Its a MUST DO in your lifetime
Traveled: 2011-07-08, Reviewed: 2012-09-24
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
We had heard so many positive reviews about this trip before we booked it and I can certainly appreciate why now that we have experienced the minkes too. The Rumney family are a well respected local family and are extremely passionate about sharing the amazing minke experience with others. They have perfected the balance of combining research with tourism to ensure the benefit of all involved.

One of the best things about the minke trip is that is is suitable for everyone, with options for those with their diving ticket, or those who would rather snorkel. The minke whale experience specifically is enjoyed just with a mask, snorkel and fins so as long as you can swim you are bound to have a fantastic time.

The Minke encounters were UNBELIEVABLE, and I still consider this trip as one of the highlights of my travelling career. I did not want to get out of the water, they are completely mesmerizing and like no animal I have ever interacted with before. If you get excited by spotting whales/dolphins in the distance, this experience is seriously the going to knock your socks off. We had Minkes passing within a couple of meters of snorkelers, they are calm, inquisitive and as everyone else has said, you literally see eye to eye with these beautiful creatures.

Thank you all the crew for our trip (particularly Jen Rumney who organised much of the trip). I cannot wait to return to do this all again.
Heather Miles
Trip of a Lifetime!
Traveled: 2012-07-15, Reviewed: 2012-09-24
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
This was my second trip with the Rumney Family, and it's exceeded expectations on both occasions. Eye to Eye are so passionate about conservation, and combining research with tourism, and this really rubs off on you! You get lots of opportunities to assist with the research and learn about the whales, and the encounters are absolutely unforgettable experiences. You literally do get 'eye to eye' with these magnificent creatures!
Helen Robertson
One of lifes great experiences
Traveled: 2012-06-29, Reviewed: 2012-09-21
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
This was my 10th trip with the Rumney team alongside the researchers from the Minke Whale Project. Being in the water interacting with the magnificent, curious and very friendly dwarf minke whales is a life changing experience and will have you coming back for more each year.John and his team are passionate about all marine life and the conservation of our oceans and this is reflected in these trips. Comfortable boat, amazing food, stunning dive sites and locations, heaps of informative talks from the researchers and the opportunity to be part of the research are just some of the many highlights of the trip.I'm already booked in for trip no 11 next year, wouldn't miss it for anything!
Kirsti
Once in a lifetime experience!
Traveled: 2012-07-10, Reviewed: 2012-09-21
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
This trip really was a once in a lifetime experience. I learnt so much about sea life, boat life and even how to snorkel. The crew are very friendly and relaxed (not once frustrated by my lack of snorkelling skills). Daily Minke whale lectures were fun and informative. Every effort was taken by the crew to minimise its impact on marine life and the environment. This trip and memories of the beautiful marine life stay with you and at times i find myself missing the beautiful colours of the reef and the deep blue. I recommend this trip for first timers to advanced divers.
fiona connolly
Best trip ever!
Traveled: 2012-07-05, Reviewed: 2012-08-10
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
What a fabulous experience to get to swim with Dwarf Minke whales. Thank you sooo much to the eye to eye marine team and the wonderful Alistair from the Minke Whale Project for his passion and knowledge of the dwarf minkes. The 4th day out was declared Minke Day as that's when we got to spend the whole day with the amazing minkes. They were so inquisitive of us and would slide up from below and really look you in the eye! Couldn't believe I was being checked out by a magnificent minke!!! Accommodation on the boat was superb, as was the food - delicious and catered for vegetarians like me. The crew were awesome and always on hand to make sure you had the very best experience. A once in a life-time experience. I would definitely travel with them again. Thank you!
Sally gordon
Magic minkes
Traveled: 2012-07-21, Reviewed: 2012-08-07
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
It was always the minkes that sort us out and that in itself was special. The crew created a totally friendly, safe and enthusiastic environment that optimized our enjoyment and learning from and about the whales. The diving was also fantastic and managed with total professionalism. This is my 3rd time in 2 years and I have had now 24 friends and family come along and been blown away by the experience
John Rumney and his crew have created an awesome experience that cannot help but leave you a changed person
Cheers Sally
Rebecca Russo
Whale of a time!
Traveled: 2012-06-29, Reviewed: 2012-07-08
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
Eye to Eye Marine Encounter's minke whale expedition proved to be the most rewarding wildlife experience I have ever had! They have successfully pioneered the most unforgettable and educational tourist-funded research expedition. Spending time in the water with one of the most intelligent mammals on earth was an absolute privilege and something I will not forget. I valued the focus on research and sustainable tourism - they ensure all in-water encounters are undertaken on the whales' terms. The researchers and crew's passion for these animals is palpable and it was something that was shared by all of us onboard!

The dive/snorkel sites around the ribbon reefs were magical. Fish, sharks, turtles and rays abound! The dive/snorkel instructors were professional and spent time with novice snorkelers to ensure they had a safe, special and enjoyable experience.

If you want the experience of a lifetime, I highly recommend joining a minke whale expedition!
Richard Groom
Minke Mellow a must
Traveled: 2012-06-26, Reviewed: 2012-06-30
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
Linda & John

Thank you so much for organising such an amazing experience. We all had a fantastic time & the crew of the Aroona led by Ross & Dean created a wonderful atmosphere while at the same time being incredibly professional & at all times safe.

As you probably know by now it took a couple of days for the whales to want to make contact with us (they find us we don’t find them). When they did we had about 6 hours with them which finished off with the Packman smile (as Ross named it). It is difficult to put into words the experience & the emotions that I felt while floating around with the whales, but here goes.

As the whales glide beside & below us there is an intense emotion of awe, majesty, calmness, safety, compassion, quietness, love, inquisitiveness, & assuredness while at the same time being totally helpless & at the mercy of the whales & the ocean, & as a guest in their realm. This feeling leads to gratefulness & humbleness to be in the presence of such a magnificent animal who is wanting to make contact with mankind.

We wonder why the Minke’s are seeking us out. Maybe it’s because they leave us with an experience which I can now tap into (the above feelings) while living in our day to day lives & hold onto that frequency & feeling at all times. I like to call it MINKE MELLOW

Because the whales are so awesome we tend to forget about the amazing diving & snorkeling around the Ribbon reefs as well as the Cod hole, Pinnacle & Lighthouse. Our group had experienced & novice divers, as I was a novice I can say that Dean did a great job instilling confidence into us all & guiding us around the underwater garden. The food from chef Dean was excellent, & our deckie Wazza was a big help & a lot of fun.

Once again many thanks for pioneering this amazing encounter with one of nature’s magnificent animals.
Leigh Caldwell
A Life Changing Experience!
Traveled: 2011-06-22, Reviewed: 2011-11-01
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
My hubby, brother and I had the trip of a lifetime when we joined the amazing crew from Eye to Eye Marine Encounters for a 7 night/6 day Minke Whale Adventure. One particular day, we spent seven hours totally mesmerised as these magnificent animals paraded past, played, showed off and looked us right in the eye as though they were trying to communicate in some way. At no time did any of us swim to the Minke Whales or try to touch them in any way, they approached us as they pleased…and as they grew more confident, they sometimes passed very closely. The Minke Whales made each one of us feel as though we were the only person on earth. As I had my own eye to eye encounter with one of the Minkes, I thought “Wouldn’t it be great to live life with that ability…to make every person you come into contact feel as though they are the only person on this earth.” This trip was certainly a life changing experience and we would recommend it to every person. We can’t wait to do it again!
Vicki Moore
Amazing Experience
Traveled: 2011-06-22, Reviewed: 2011-08-21
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
In June along with my sister who flew all the way from the UK to join me, we jumped onboard a 7 night/6 day trip with the lovely crew of Eye to Eye Marine Encounters. We registered about 50+ Minke sightings over our 6 days and we had the most amazing opportunity to join these beautiful and gentle Minke whales in the water and we spent hours watching and interacting with the Minkes, all of us saying that they were just looking at "me" and that they came and visited "me", they passed by us so gracefully and so close it was one of the best encounters I have ever had, I have spent the last 20+ years to help save whales, and as I looked into the eye of these Minkes I felt more determined to continue with the fight to make their waters safe and as I have travelled this amazing planet and seen some fantastic life changing images - this experience left us wanting more.. Thank you Eye to Eye Marine Encounters.. We will see you next year..
Dave
Best thing we've ever done!!
Traveled: 2011-07-05, Reviewed: 2011-08-19
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
This was by far the best experience my partner and I have ever had. The crew and research team on board were phenomenal in their understanding, passion and sustainable treatment of the whales. The encounters were run in accordance with a Code of Practice (which members of Eye to Eye Marine Encounters team actually helped create) which meant the whales were in complete control of the interaction and it was obvious that they were enjoying themselves as much as we were. Educational and inspiring - the best wildlife experience ever!
stephen
Something I will never forget
Traveled: 2011-07-17, Reviewed: 2011-08-19
Safe approach to whales / dolphins
Valuable learning experience
Trip meets expectations
Minimal impact on the marine environment
Own research / support for conservation
Swimming with the minke whales was an experience I will treasure forever. John Rumney is a fountain of information in regards to the minke whales. I had a brilliant time and would recommend it to everyone to experience at least once in your lifetime. Five stars
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