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Minke Whales & Marine Science

Join the ultimate dive adventure on the Great Barrier Reef. Get certified as an open water diver or take an advanced course, then venture into the far reaches of the Coral Sea! Snorkel with dwarf minke whales, a type of baleen whale that visit the reef along their migratory path each year from June to August. When not swimming with whales and other marine animals, join marine biologists to help evaluate the sustainable management of ecotourism. Log up to 21 day and night dives during your trip. Your Program Leader is the distinguished marine expert, Dr. Olaf Meynecke. Dr. Olaf is a leading scientist in the field of marine ecology. He studied environmental science in Germany, specializing in Biology, and worked as a scientific coordinator for the European Union before moving to Australia, where he completed his Ph.D. in marine biology.

Highlights

Swim with dwarf minke whales and come eye-to-eye with these majestic creatures.

Learn to scuba dive on the Great Barrier reef and log up to 21 dives.

Live at sea for 7 nights on a liveaboard dive boat in the Coral Sea.

Study marine biology and contribute to scientific research through collecting data with researchers from James Cook University.

Snorkel, dive, swim, and sleep in one of the greatest underwater ecosystems on the planet.

Day 1: Cairns, Here We Come!

Touchdown in Cairns – your gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Infused program leaders will be on hand to welcome you. After collecting your baggage, you’ll have lunch, settle into your apartments and freshen-up after a long day of travel. Get to know everyone through orientation activities and beach games.

Overnight: Cairns

Days 2 & 3: Learn to Dive - Theory and Pool

If you’re new to scuba diving, you will start a 5-day PADI open water dive certification. These two days are spent learning theory in the classroom and taking practical lessons in the pool. If you already have open-water certification prior to the program, you will take an advanced course to further your skills and education in diving.

In the evenings, learn about the Great Barrier Reef through interactive presentations and soak up the warm tropical nights under palm trees.

Days 4, 5 & 6: Liveaboard Dive Course

Spend three days and two nights on a liveaboard dive boat and enjoy 9 dives out on the reef, including night dives! Get close to turtles, parrot fish, maori wrasse and maybe see a reef shark. Students undertaking their dive certification will complete their course with instructors, and in between diving there will be time to chill on the deck or spend more time snorkeling.

Overnight: Liveaboard dive boat, Coral Sea

Days 7, 8 & 9: Minke Whale Expedition

These three days will be spent on various dive sites in the turquoise Ribbon Reefs. This 55-mile chain of reefs from Lizard Island to Cooktown is the most prized dive region of the Great Barrier Reef. It is also where the Minke Whales migrate to breed and calve each year.

Each year from June to August, dwarf minke whales visit the northern Great Barrier Reef in what is the world’s only known, predictable aggregation of this species. The whales are exceptionally inquisitive and often closely approach divers and snorkelers for extended periods of time. Through this expedition, there is a 98% chance of coming face-to-face with these magnificent creatures.
You can also see more of the Great Barrier Reef’s fish and coral species here than anywhere else, and there will be opportunities for 12 dives, including night dives!

Between dives and minke whale encounters, you will spend time with the marine biologists onboard to learn everything you want to know. During the swims with the minkes, help collect data on their behavior and contribute to the research the University is conducting.

All of this while living aboard a well-appointed dive boat, eating great food and sharing amazing memories with your friends.

Overnight: Liveaboard dive boat, Coral Sea

Day 10: Return to Cairns

Our dive expedition comes to an end today as the boat docks back in Cairns. This afternoon there’s the option to add-on a bungee jump or a giant swing if you want more extreme adventure!

At the end of each program, students reflect on their experiences and the issues they engaged with and talk about how to apply this new understanding to their own worlds. During or after their closing discussion, groups participate in Infused Ties, a unique and powerful activity that allows students to capture the memories and learnings of their program to process and share back home.

Overnight: Cairns

Day 11: Departure

This morning we’ll take an early flight from Cairns to Brisbane. Today will be full of fond farewells as you say goodbye to new friends and connect to your flight home. Safe travels!