Have you heard of Migaloo? The world famous, well maybe not WORLD famous but he sure is a celebrity here in the oceanic area, white humpback whale… well he is back! And it's thought that our friend Migaloo might have had a calf a few years back as a young white humpback whale was spotted travelling with him in 2011 off the coast of Cairns. Both Migaloo, and the yet to be named white calf, have been spotted migrating up the East Coast of Australia.
I’m pretty sure we will see a lot more of Migaloo, which is the aboriginal word for "white fella" as he is also called, in the next few months as it’s the whale migration season to the Great Barrier Reef where they head to the warmer waters to breed.
Every year the humpback whales migrate from Antarctica to the tropical coastal waters of western and eastern Australia and Fiji, at least 1200 humpback whales migrate 5000km to the eastern coast of Australia. These groups of whales (also called pods) start to arrive at the Great Barrier Reef in mid-June and they will move further along the Great Barrier Reef.
Our friend Migaloo is one of the 1200 humpback whales; he is 14 meters long and was first sighted back in 1991 (yes that’s 22 years ago!) near Byron Bay. Some people think that Migaloo is just another albino animal and not that special but scientists have already downplayed this statement because albino animals have pinkish eyes but Migaloo’s eyes are as normal as any other humpback whale.
It’s safe to say that Migaloo the white humpback whale is a whole different kind of special. Migaloo has become quite the celebrity over the years and when he's spotted many newspapers and websites celebrate it - it really does seem like people feel a great connection him.
There are plenty of places in Australia where you have great opportunities to go whale watching... we recommend Byron Bay whale watching as one company to go out with, or if you're planning a trip to the Whitsundays you might be lucky enough to see whales during that, but if you don't like boats then there are lots of places on the coast where you can often see the whales swimming past. Noosa National park is one place, and the Byron Bay lighthouse is also fantastic for spotting whales and dolphins.
In the next couple of weeks Migaloo, his friends and the other white humpback whale (scientists aren’t totally sure if these two are definitely related but if they are it would be an incredibly rare natural phenomenon) will move further along the east coast to mate and give birth and hopefully we will see them both every year during the migration season for many years to come, and we’re hoping to see a lot more of these rare "white fellas" in the coming years too!
These incredible pictures of Migaloo were found on the following websites: