Swimming with the Australian Minke Whales

TAPinto Travels Editor-in-Chief or James Bond? It is hard to tell with all that gear.
It's clearly James Bond. What other travel magazine would risk an editor so cavalierly?
The Great Barrier is an amazing sight regardless of your vantage point.
Good news! You get to ride in style.
Snorkeling for Whales is fun and surprisingly good for those core muscles.
We get to swim with whales and ride in a Zodiac. This is like taking a Tom Clancy film and throw in a National Geographical Society photographer for fun.

TAPinto Travels 

It approaches from deep within the Coral Sea, 20 feet of steel grey torpedo-shaped flesh that sends shivers through the gaggle of snorkelers peering down from the surface.

A great white shark?

Nope. The elusive minke whale and we have leaped off a dive boat far out in Australia's Great Barrier Reef to swim with them.

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Much to the consternation of environmentalists, human interaction with whales is a noticeable tourism trend around the world. And while Australian authorities don't want to deny visitors the opportunity to witness these majestic creatures, they also want to ensure it is done right.

The number of boats allowed out at any time is strictly regulated, as are the companies licensed to do so. The number of swimmers in the water is restricted and they are spaced about five feet apart, allowing the naturally inquisitive mammals to choose who -- or if -- they approach. Touching and photographing the animals is prohibited.

Minke whales are gentle giants only recently seen to be congregating in certain parts of  Australia's outer reefs during the summer months, whether for feeding or breeding or simply migration. 

Once spotted, engines are silenced and a dozen swimmers hustle to leap into the clear, warm water, latching on to a throw rope tossed out ahead.

One especially curious whale ventures hesitatatingly to within six feet before turning away -- in the process granting visitors the adventure of a lifetime.

If you feel up for the trip, here is how you do it.

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March 19, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ - A free Citizenship Workshop will be held this Saturday, March 24, at the Santa Isabel Lutheran Church from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. located at 908 East Jersey Street in Elizabeth.

The Citizenship Drive is an annual event that assists eligible residents to apply for naturalization. Immigration attorneys will be present to screen eligibility and trained volunteers will assist in the ...

Teacher Training at Trailside

MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ  - Teacher Training programs at Trailside will be offered this spring for teachers of students in Kindergarten through grade twelve starting March 15.

Project WET, a teacher training program for teachers K – 12 will be offered on Thurs. March 15 from 9 a.m.. to 3 p.m.  This workshop will provide the necessary tools, resources, and lessons for teachers ...

Daylight Savings Time Begins this Weekend - Remember to Turn Your Clocks Forward

ELIZABETH, NJ - The winter months are about to come to an end. You know spring is definitely around the corner when Daylight Savings Time begins. A reminder to everyone to turn your clocks forward one hour tonight when you go to bed. Daylight Savings time officially begins at 2 a.m. Sunday morning. 

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Information on Parking and Traffic for Saturday's 'March for Our Lives' Event

March 23, 2018

UNION, NJ – It is anticipated that several hundred people or more will participate in the Union County March for Our Lives event on Saturday morning in Union.

Students, teachers, parents, clergy and public officials from all over Union County will be walking from Burnet Middle School to Town Hall in an anti-gun violence march.

Parking will be available in the following ...

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'Trying' explores age, youth and points of history in poignant production

‘Trying’ explores youth, age and points of history in poignant production

By Liz Keill

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The George Street Playhouse presents an engrossing, two-character play based on the real life of Francis Biddle, former Attorney General.

Biddle, a Harvard educated lawyer, served under Franklin Roosevelt and later Harry Truman during the Nuremberg Tribunal. His ...

Visit Union County’s Green Online Shop and Celebrate Earth Day with a New Compost Bin or Rain Barrel

March 23, 2018

Union County gardeners looking for a good Earth Day project can visit the new Union County Means Green online shop now and order a new compost bin or rain barrel at 50% off the retail price.

“Composting food scraps and harvesting rainwater are two effective ways to improve soil health and conserve water,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “Offering these compost bins ...