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Swimming Alongside Humpback Whales with Corrine Matthews

Marine scientists say that the Humpback Whale call is one of the most complex animal sounds there is. “It’s a very beautiful and melancholy song and sounds a little like a door creaking or a violinist warming up,” spotter and snorkelling guide, Corrine Matthews, says. “Some days when we snorkel on the outer reef of Ningaloo, we ask our guests to dive down and just listen. Sound travels underwater four times faster than above water.”

Humpback Swim - Hero 08In the water with mother and calf. Image: Exmouth Dive & Whalesharks Ningaloo

Hearing a Humpback Whale call is a tantalising teaser to swimming alongside one. “The two experiences are vastly different, but they both offer an opportunity to get to know this special whale species a little better,” Corrine says. “What I love about Humpback Whales is their focus on connection. They are rarely alone, and when we swim with them, I believe that you can also feel this connection.”

Humpback Swim - Hero 06Humpback Whale swim from above. Image: Exmouth Dive & Whalesharks Ningaloo

Exmouth Dive & Whalesharks Ningaloo was one of the first operators in Western Australia to offer Humpback Whale swims, and with every Humpback Whale swim tour sold, a donation is made to the Centre for Whale Research Western Australia and the Parks & Wildlife Service, with the option for guests to donate additional amounts.

Watch - Exmouth Dive & Whalesharks Ningaloo: Our Story


The tours support ongoing Humpback Whale research and safety is paramount. “We have pilots in the air who have eyes on us; the guides swim with radios in their hands; the skipper has a radio; and the whole team is in continuous communication to ensure that everyone is happy and safe,” Corrine explains.

Humpback Swim - Hero 04Humpback Whale. Image: Exmouth Dive & Whalesharks Ningaloo

Swimming with one Humpback is the goal, but since the whales often travel in twos, guests are sometimes able to swim with a mother and her calf, and even a male escort if they’re very lucky. “The first time I swam with a Humpback Whale took my breath away and it felt like there was nothing else in the world except this giant of the ocean and me,” Corrine recalls.

“I hear similar statements from guests after they experience their first swim, too. The adrenalin is high, but the minute you see a Humpback your body and mind just freeze in the moment.”

Humpback Whale Swim and Watching

A staggering 30,000 west coast Humpback Whales migrate through to the Ningaloo region and start to rest after their long migration from the Antarctic and this is your chance to snorkel with these majestic creatures!

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