Is Migaloo back? White whale is spotted off the coast of Victoria as locals speculate the return of the rock star humpback

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By ELIZA MCPHEE FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA

Australia’s most beloved whale Migaloo may be back sooner than expected after photos surfaced showing a white humpback off the coast of Victoria.

The whale was photographed swimming near Cape Schanck off the state’s south coast, sending many Migaloo fans into a frenzy.

While the sighting hasn’t been confirmed as Migaloo, the white humpback is known to migrate north along the east coast at this time of year.

Macquarie University marine scientist Dr Vanessa Pirotta said if the whale was Migaloo, he could be as far north as Port Macquarie in the coming weeks.

‘We’re not 100 per cent sure but it could well be him because he is part of the east population that generally migrate this time of year,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

But Dr Pirotta said he has been known to migrate off the coast of New Zealand as well.

‘Apparently there’s more than one white whale out there, we definitely know there’s humpback whales with lots of white colour but not fully white,’ she said.

Migaloo, Australia’s most beloved and best-known whale. was first sighted back in 1991 and has been seen on and off in Australian waters over the years.

For Dr Pirotta who has seen the whale just once before back in 2015 off the coast of Sydney, another possible sighting is very exciting.

The pictures were taken on April 9.

‘If you see him in real life he illuminates the water around him and as he swims he turns it turquoise,’ she said

‘Because he’s so different, people just want to learn more about him. He’s very social and is often seen with his friend Milo.’

The scientist urged whale watchers to remember they must keep a distance of 500m from Migaloo and can face fines of up to $16,500 if they ignore the rules.

Another possible sighting of the white humpback was seen in June last year off the New South Wales coast.

Each year between May and November the humpback whale population makes its annual pilgrimage from Antarctica to the warmer waters off north east Australia.

They then mate and give birth before returning south with their young.

While Migaloo is one of these estimated 40,000 whales he’s considered particularly special because of his unusual colouring.

The first sighting of Migaloo dates back to 1991 around Hervey Bay and researchers have been following the creature ever since.

Researchers were fascinated by Migaloo’s colouring, as he was believed to be the first fully white whale in the eastern humpback whale population.

He was named ‘Migaloo’ which means ‘whitefella’ in several indigenous languages.

Scientists still aren’t sure if he’s an albino whale or if he is leucistic, meaning he is unable to produce pigment but has coloured eyes.

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