The search for great white whales has existed for years. Back in 1991 a stunning white whale was finally caught on radar, today he is known as Migaloo.
When he was first spotted he was estimated to be between 3 and 5 years old.
Now as one of the most famous humpback whales, Migaloo is around 27 years old, while the average humpback whale lives to be 50 years old.
Every year he travels up to Queensland Australia in search of warmer waters, giving many different whale watchers the opportunity to see him with their own eyes. Migaloo is currently heading to warmer waters in Queensland Australia, and many people are closely following (and even documenting) his journey.
At 50 tons, Migaloo is as big as a bus, making him easy to spot. Still, it’s not that common to catch a glimpse. Any captain will tell you that it’s not that likely you will actually see Migaloo.
Just ask Adam Cardwell, a man lucky enough to see Migaloo alongside his wife and son. To the Cardwell’s delight, Migaloo appeared with a whole team of other whales on their adventure out to sea.
But is the albino whale from north Queensland actually albino? Some have raised skepticism about the whale being albino because his eyes are brown, instead of red or white.
After the Australian Marine Mammal Center tested Migaloo’s DNA they found an absence of the melanin-producing protein common of species with albinism. Almost all species can be born with albinism, and Migaloo seems to be one of them.
Migaloo is not the only white whale either, although for a long time it was believed he was. That is until September 2011 when a baby humpback whale was spotted wearing all-white skin.
Around this time of year Migaloo makes a number of appearances, just as he has for over 20 years. In Australia, and all over the world, Migaloo has formed quite a following. The albino whale even has a Twitter page, website and song on iTunes.
Sightings of Migaloo are constantly updated via Twitter, showing off amazing photographs of the whale, along with his current route of travel. Migaloo’s annual migration takes him through an assortment of locations, including Cairns by Passions of Paradise and Downunder Dive.
He has also been spotted near Otter Reef, Stradbroke Island, and off the coast of Stanwell Tops Woolongong. Knowing his frequent path of travel allows even more people to catch a glimpse of the bus-size celebrity.
And just like any other celeb, Migaloo has paparazzi all over him. Some recent photos of Migaloo have prompted concerns, especially over the red mark he now has on his dorsal fin. Experts say this might just be a rub mark or could also be an early sign of skin cancer—which wouldn’t be unlikely for a fair-skinned albino that lives outside. Other photos of Migaloo show yellow spots dotting his bright white skin.
These yellow marks are more easily diagnosed, as they are caused by marine micro algae growth, common amongst whales traveling through cold waters.
Although he doesn’t know it, Migaloo is one of the most carefully guarded whales living in the ocean. He is considered property of Australia and is therefore protected under Australian law. If you plan your next whale-watching excursion just right, you too might witness Migaloo for yourself and see what all of the splash is about. Some people who have seen Migaloo say it’s on par with a religious experience, his elegance, beauty, and unique qualities that breathtaking.