DIVE IN: Why now is the perfect time to swim with whales
IF YOU have ever thought about swimming with whales, now is the time to dive in.
July, August and early September are the ideal months to get up close with the gentle giants and this season is proving to be better than most.
Jenni Goldsworthy from Hervey Bay Whale Watch said so far this year, there seemed to be more whales in the water, with more chances to swim alongside them.
Ms Goldsworthy encouraged keen divers to get in quick as "curious" sub-adult whales enjoy the waters of Hervey Bay.
"It's early in the season when the sub-adults are migrating, because they're the really curious ones who come over to the boats," Ms Goldsworthy said.
"Mothers and calves come in September and we're not allowed to put people in the water then."
The season has provided some spectacular close encounters, with one diver telling Ms Goldsworthy he got so close to a whale, he could have reached out and touched it.
It was a good thing he didn't, though - as Ms Goldsworthy said, the barnacles on its skin would have ripped his hand to shreds. While swimming with whales is never a guarantee, as weather conditions and animal behaviour can change unexpectedly, Ms Goldsworthy said the experience of getting up close was "life-changing".
"I've had people come back from tours saying they were going to donate to whale conservation," she said.