Migaloo slips past the Gold Coast as Whale season kicks off
MIGALOO, the world-famous white humpback whale, has reportedly slipped past the Gold Coast on his annual migration to the Great Barrier Reef.
The 14m-long albino male, previously the only documented white humpback whale on the planet, is a star feature of the 12,000km journey
This time he is again joined by another, as yet unnamed, white whale.
Known by the aboriginal word Migaloo, or “white fella”, the acrobatic animal is believed to have spawned at least one all-white offspring after a white humpback calf was photographed in the Whitsundays in 2011.
Scientists are trying to obtain DNA samples from Migaloo and the newcomer to confirm if they are related.
If so, experts say, it would be an incredibly rare natural phenomenon.
Migaloo, or his doppelganger, will today be close to Hervey Bay, a popular whale watching destination near Fraser Island, off the central Queensland coast.
The white whale was first reportedly sighted near Yamba, in New South Wales, moving slowly north among a group of six other whales about 10.30am on June 13.
The White Whale Research Centre, one of several websites dedicated to Migaloo, has posted the sighting on its latest bulletin.
It also has another unconfirmed sighting of a different white whale on the same day in a pod of four, 1.5km off Stanwell Tops, near Wollongong.
Xanthe Rivett, of the research centre, said: “They’re back.” “Maybe this will be the year we uncover the mystery of this rare pair of white whales,” the Cairns-based underwater photographer said. She said new footage would help confirm the separate identities of Migaloo and the newcomer.
Migaloo usually spends several weeks in the inner reef lagoon between Cairns and Port Douglas and was last year captured on video treating a boatload of tourists to an aerial spectacle off Green Island.
This year between 12,000 and 15,000 humpback whales will migrate north from Antarctic waters to the warmer waters of the Great Barrier Reef for their annual mating season.
Migaloo was first sighted near Cairns in 1991, believed to be three to five years old at the time, and was confirmed as a male using sloughed skin samples in 2004.