Whales, Wildlife & Wilderness                                                                                                                                                 Pam & Wayne Osborn

Dwarf Minke Whales


Balaenoptera acutorostrata

Every June and July, dwarf minkes make an appearance on the Ribbon Reefs. SE trade winds fit to blow dogs off chains howl for days on end. The minkes surf the swell and revel in the wild conditions.


It was July 2013 and we were on Curt and Micheline Jenner's Whale Song, Australia's largest private marine research vessel. Under the guidance of pioneer minke researcher Dr. Alistair Birtles, this was a world first expedition to satellite tag dwarf minke whales.


Dr. Russ Andrews from the University of Alaska was our tagging expert and under his supervision, four minkes were now sporting tags that would reveal the secrets of their migration patterns for the first time. The data later revealed some of these whales travelled from here to the Subantarctic. One young male swam over 6,000 kilometres in less than 3 months.


Some of the images also show the research vessel, Whale Song, and deployment of sonar buoys used to record and identify whale species.


Dwarf minkes are an undescribed subspecies of the northern minke whale Balaenoptera acutorostrata.


Ribbon Reefs, Great Barrier Reef, Australia.