THE minkes have returned, with the first ones spotted on Tuesday from a private charter tour onboard the Calypso Pure Snorkelling boat.
An adult and a juvenile minke whale put on a show for the lucky crew, marking the start of whale season in the local waters.
If these Calypso crew werent blessed enough, a few minutes later they crossed paths with a pod of over 80 pilot whales cruising the waters.
Lucy Deuble from Calypso said the boat had been privately chartered for the day and were further north than they usually travelled.
‘‘The crew had just dropped off the passengers at the reef, and were heading back when they saw them,’’ she said.
‘‘They were shocked and ecstatic by the sight as it was totally unexpected as they were on a different route when they spotted them.
‘‘It is much earlier in the season than we usually see them, probably two or three weeks earlier.
‘‘It could have been because the water has gone colder sooner or they could have just been lucky.
‘‘Hopefully this means there will be more sightings now.
‘‘It is a shame the passengers missed the show but the crew were very happy when they came running into the office.’’
Minke whales are usually seen around the tropical waters from the end of May until early September when the water temperature drops for winter.
While rarer, humback whales also pass through local waters in the winter months.