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Migaloo arrives on the Gold Coast, Australia

In 2015, the Majestic White Whale ‘Migaloo’ (‘White Fella’ in the Aboriginal language) passed our shores on 10th August 2015. Migaloo unexpectedly swam through the Gold Coast along the Humpback Highway – so breathtaking! The reason why Migaloo arrived so late in the season could be due to the changes in ocean currents and temperature. There was a lot of controversy whether it was Migaloo but all researches confirmed it was Migaloo, based on dorsal and fluke identification.
Spirit is the only boat in Australia to have sighted Migaloo three consecutive years in 2003, 2004 and 2005. In 2006, 2007 and 2008 Migaloo was elusive as he passed the Gold Coast, with no confirmed sightings. Migaloo was once again sighted in 2009 and 2012.

For more information about Migaloo, the White Whale visit www.migaloo.com.au and www.migaloo.org

This website is dedicated to Migaloo the White Whale and is about raising awareness on humpback whales as well as documented activities of unusual marine mammals including Migaloo, and the monitoring of interactions between the whale and curious humans.

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MIGALOO SIGHTINGS by Spirit Vessel (White Fella’ in the Aboriginal Language)

  • 10th July 2003 Migaloo swam into our hearts first sighting in four years! Spent a graceful one and a half hours playing and performing for Spirit; passengers were spell bound!
  • 22nd June 2004 Migaloo treated Spirit, passengers and the national media to yet another majestic encounter, but with a slight difference! “Migaloo” had a girlfriend, and for two hours was very comfortable with introducing and showing off his new love to the world!
  • 16th July 2005 Migaloo came, we saw and he conquered our hearts; making Spirit the only Whale Watching boat in Australia to have sighted this majestic mammal three years consecutively!
  • 1st July 2009 Migaloo passed our shores. Passengers and crew aboard Spirit were in awe of him and very fortunate to get a glimpse of the Majestic White Whale.
  • 27th September 2012 Migaloo showed up out nowhere. Spirit spent one and half hours with him, just off Broadbeach! He breached twice! OMG! What a sight! Dolphins all around the boat too!
  • 10th August 2015 Migaloo unexpectedly swam through the Gold Coast along the Humpback Highway – so breathtaking! The reason why Migaloo arrived so late in the season could be due to the changes in ocean currents and temperature. There was a lot of controversy whether it was Migaloo but all researches confirmed it was Migaloo, based on dorsal and fluke identification.

Migaloo is Australia’s most well-known humpback whale.  When he was first sighted he was the only known all white whale in the world.  As he migrates up the east coast of Australia from Antarctica to the warmer waters of Tropical North Queensland his distinctive all white colouring allows people to report sightings.

Up until September 2011 Migaloo was thought to be the only all white Humpback Whale in the world. Then amazing footage emerged of a 100% all white baby humpback calf. This new white whale unofficially named MJ (Migaloo Junior) has amazed & delighted people from around the world. It really is Mother Nature at her brilliant best and hopefully this new all white whale will live as long as the average humpback whale (90 years) and assist in creating more awareness of our marine environment for future generations to enjoy and appreciate.

Migaloo is protected under Australian law.  He is part of the Australian East Coast Humpback Whale population. Because Migaloo is such a unique whale he has special Queensland & Commonwealth Government legislation that is enacted each year to protect him from harassment. For this reason all vessels including Jet-skis are prohibited from approaching Migaloo no closer than 500m and Aircraft no lower than 2000 feet. The Fine for breaching this law is $16,500.00.

  • On 28th June, 1991, an all-white humpback whale was photographed passing Byron Bay, Australia’s most easterly point.
  • This unusual whale was at that time, the only documented record of an all-white humpback whale in the world. It was named “Migaloo” This is the name the Australian Aboriginal community in Queensland use to describe a White Fella.
  • Migaloo is an adult male who we believe was born in 1986.
  • Researchers from (Southern Cross University Whale Research Centre) were able to collect sloughed skin samples from Migaloo in October 2004, on Spirit Whale Watching Vessel, when he breached. Small pieces of skin fell off him into the water and were collected and analysed for DNA. From this it was confirmed that Migaloo is definitely a male. A genetic fingerprint for Migaloo was also obtained, allowing researchers to check for relatives of Migaloo amongst the other whales they have samples from, as well as to check whether Migaloo is the father if they obtain skin from a calf.
  • Migaloo is suspected to be an albino whale, but without definitive evidence for the moment he is known as a “hypo-pigmented” humpback.
  • Sightings of Migaloo provide valuable insight into the migratory behaviour of humpback whales along the east coast of Australia.
  • Migaloo is suspected to be an albino whale, but without definitive evidence for the moment he is known as a “hypo-pigmented” humpback.
  • Sightings of Migaloo provide valuable insight into the migratory behaviour of humpback whales along the east coast of Australia.
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