PADI Dwarf Minke Whale Awareness Distinctive Specialty


Dwarf Minke whales visit the northern Great Barrier Reef each winter as part of their annual migration. This is the only predictable collation of these whales in the world, providing us with an exceptional opportunity to interact with this rare species. Divers Den is endorsed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to conduct swims with Minke whales.

Growing up to eight metres long and weighing several tonnes, Minkes are exceptionally inquisitive and often approach boats, divers and snorkellers, sometimes interacting for extended periods offering a truly memorable experience. 

In this PADI distinctive specialty course, created by the Divers Den team, you’ll learn all about dwarf Minke whales, including their biology, how to identify them by their markings, and how they behave. You’ll gain insight into the pressures and threats to their populations worldwide, and what conservation efforts are being made to protect them.  

During this Minke whale specialty you’ll understand the importance of the rules and monitoring activities that govern how we interact with these fascinating creatures. By the end you’ll know how to plan and carry out interactions with Minkes in a way that keeps everybody safe. 

The course includes knowledge development, and two open water training dives. 

During your training dives you’ll learn how to report Minke whale and other marine life sightings on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s ‘Eye on the Reef‘ app.  

After you’ve completed the course, you will receive an official PADI Dwarf Minke Whale Awareness Specialty certification card.

This course is also available to snorkellers – please note previous snorkelling experience is required. At the end of the course you’ll received a Certificate of Recognition.

Need another reason to sign up? We donate part of your course fee to Project AWARE, contributing towards Minke Whale conservation.

This specialty course is available on board OceanQuest during our Minke Whale expeditions.

Course Outline:

Knowledge development & two dive/snorkel sessions


  • All course materials
  • Snorkel equipment, including wetsuits
  • Air fills
  • All meals on board
  • Fresh chilled water
  • Tea and coffee
  • Prescription masks (deposit required)
  • Dive guides


Dwarf Minke Whale Awareness

PADI Distinctive Specialty Course
Book on board OceanQuest

This course is only available on our Minke Whale expeditions aboard OceanQuest. Includes all equipment and tuition. Prices valid to 31 March 2025. 

Additional info

Prerequisites and forms

  • Completed Self Assessed Medical Declaration
  • For divers: PADI (Junior) Open Water Diver or similar qualifying certification
  • For snorkellers: previous snorkelling experience
  • Minimum age 10 years (please advise when booking if diver/snorkeller is aged 10-12)



  • Nitrox fills on board OceanQuest ($10 per tank)
  • Snacks and beverages
  • Photo purchases
  • Digital camera hire
  • Quality souvenirs
  • Cairns northern beaches transfers $20pp

What to bring

  • Hat, sunglasses and sunscreen
  • Swimsuit and towel
  • Cert card and logbook
  • Overnight bag with changes of clothing, including warm clothing and socks for overnight wear
  • Toiletries

Bedding and bath towels are supplied on board. Excess baggage can be stored at our Draper Street office at check in.

Medical and altitude information

Currently the rules state that for a single no decompression dive, you should not fly/go to altitude for at least 12 hours, or 18 hours after multiple dives. Divers Den recommends waiting a minimum 24 hours whenever possible. These are guidelines only, there is no guarantee that these recommendations will prevent decompression sickness. There are no current guidelines regarding diving after flying.

Altitude is defined as 300m/1000ft above sea level. This includes going to the Atherton Tablelands (a popular local scenic attraction), so be careful if booking tours to follow your dive trip. Under normal circumstances, you should be out of the water on your last dive at 8pm the night before you return to Cairns.