Humpback whales are extraordinary, fascinating animals that roam wild, crisscrossing oceans at will, and swim from one of the coldest places on Earth to one of the hottest places. Lucky for us, these great aquatic nomads pay the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef a visit each year between June and October. The world’s largest fringing reef, the Ningaloo Reef hosts the annual swim through of the biggest migrating humpback whale population in the world, estimated at 40,000 and growing!
This makes the Ningaloo Reef one of the best spots in the world to have an epic in-water encounter, getting up and close with them on a humpback whale swim tour.
Related reads: How to swim with humpback whales in WA
Humpback Whales Fun Facts
To understand these incredible creatures a bit better before you venture out into the Ningaloo’s big blue, we give you our top fun facts about humpback whales. These facts may assist you with your next humpback whale swim or whale-watching tour with Ningaloo Whale Shark Swim!
1. Humpback whales are a species of the baleen whales, with plates in their mouth with bristles that help capture prey such as small fish, salmon, krill, mackerel and herring. Humpback whales are big eaters, having from 270 to 400 baleen plates on each side of their mouths, and eating 1360kgs of sealife daily as an adult!
2. Humpback whales are similar to humans, with their tail providing the equivalent of our distinctive fingerprints for identification purposes.
3. Think of humpback whales like extreme spa-jets, as they have not one, but two blowholes at the top of their heads with the top of their spume (the air jet generated when they exhale) reaching up to 8m in the air!
4. Humpback whales are giants of the sea, and amongst the top six biggest animals to ever live on our planet! They can grow up to 16m in length and break the scales weighing up to 36,000kg – that’s more than the combined weight of every player on every AFL or NRL list in Australia! Interestingly, fully grown males are just slightly smaller than their female counterparts.
5. The knobbly head, long pectoral fins and huge tail makes for an incredible wildlife show, with the humpback whale’s surface displays far out dazzling any other species of whale on the planet!
6. Not a small baby when born, humpback calves are roughly the size of their mother’s head (up to 20 feet long) and can weigh up to four cars! They grow rapidly given their diet of around 600 litres of their mother’s milk daily… which is around 60% fat!
7. Male humpback whales are natural born singers. Beautiful whale songs are produced when a whale forces air through its blowholes (nasal cavities). If you are lucky enough to hear one, you are in for a performance of a lifetime. Their song surrounds you in the water, resonating through your whole body as it speaks a universal language that has no boundaries: the gift of melody. The song may be for echo-location, and or to send messages to other whales – both potential mates and rival suitors too.
One song fits all with the humpbacks singing the same song when in the same location. Incredibly, the song slowly changes over the years and can be transferred from one ocean to another. Swim with a whale and you are experiencing a whale soundtrack constantly in the making out!
8. Consider the humpbacks’ feeding season the aquatic version of the hunger games. Known as bubble net fishing, a collective of humpback whales hunt in some areas by circling around their prey and blowing bubbles to constrict the fish into a tight ball for easier fast food!
9. Whales make for great spies with their “spy-hopping” ways. The relatively rare spot, spy-hopping, can best be described when a whale gets curious and wants to further investigate what’s happening above sea level. Rather than swim, the whale floats rapidly upwards and moves its head above the surface to examine its surroundings, with its eyes far back and mostly just bringing its eyes to the surface.
So why swim with a whale with Ningaloo Whale Shark Swim?
The crew of Ningaloo Whaleshark Swim have been operating whale shark, SCUBA diving and whale swimming tours off the Ningaloo since 2001. Their purpose-built tour vessel offers a stable, comfortable and spacious platform to head safely out into the Ningaloo to interact with these giants of the ocean. The company operates in strict compliance with the License Conditions set in place by the Western Australian Government to maximise the safety of both whales and guests during swimming tours – the Conditions are recognised as the world’s best practice for interacting with whales safely and sustainably. And the crew care – like genuinely, personally care! – that every guest has the best possible experience during their tour with the company.
Check out the experiences of past guests who have swum with an ocean giant with the company:
“My partner and I did an eco tour a few days ago. We had such an amazing time. I rarely leave reviews but feel the crew deserve it! They did an epic job. We managed to swim with a whale shark and a humpback!! The crew were fantastic, the photographer Shaun was full of facts and her photos were perfect! Best tour we have done on the big lap!” – James B, Tripadvisor
Experience the giants for yourself
Ningaloo Whale Shark Swim – Book your swim with the humpback whales today from $410 per adult and $380 per child.
Now accepting family bookings for the term 3 school holidays.
Guest numbers are limited per tour, and demand for spaces is at a premium, so bookings are essential.
Tour includes snorkel hire (mask and fins), wetsuit hire, morning and afternoon tea, gourmet lunch, free pick up/drop off accommodation pick up from Exmouth and more.
For more information visit their website ningaloowhalesharks.com.
This article first appeared on So Perth – Fun Facts About Humpback Whales For Your Next Whale Adventure.
This is a sponsored post for Ningaloo Whale Shark Swim– endorsed by So Perth. We value your feedback so please contact us with any thoughts in regards to our sponsored post.