Swim with whales

Neiafu Travel Blog

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Our first sight of the humpback.

We walked down to Dolphin Pacific's office with a large wad of cash at 0830 for our whale-swim adventure.  There 8 guests including ourselves (with 2 of them picked up at a resort rather than setting out with us).  The rules require a max of 4 pax in the water plus the guide.  Some operators operate with 12 guests which means that there are three groups taking turns to swim; potentially you could have a more "diluted" encounter as a result.

We cruised around to look for a whale.  When another boat finds a whale, they have the right to that creature for 90 minutes and then they have to handover to any boat that's waiting.  So I guess it is a difficult decision for our Captain as to whether to find our own whale or join a queue.

Swim with the humpback whales; photo by Dyfed Evans.

After over an hour, we found a pod of three whales made up of a pregnant female and two males (so I was told). Another boat was just finishing up with them so we were very lucky with our timing. 

Kim and I were the first group into the water, as the other guests had encounters with previous excursions already.  We swam towards the pod.  They were resting with their noses down (deep down) and their tails up.

Our guide told us to stay put.  He knew that after around 15 minutes underwater, the whales are likely to surface and breach (jump out of the water).  And sure enough, that's what they did.  

They slowly rose from the deep.  One of them was so close its fin would have touched my leg if I hadn't moved.

Swim with the humpback whales; photo by Dyfed Evans.
 They surfaced and played around for a while.  I was absolutely in awe.  It felt surreal seeing this with my own eyes.  

The whales started blowing bubbles underwater turning our view hazy; we also expected them to go back down soon.  It made sense to go back to the boat and let the other half of the group have their turn.  We hoped that they would have as good an experience and it looks like they did.  

Both foursomes had a second turn in the water.  The sight was so unreal I couldn't seem to absorb it all.  Fortunately two people had very good quality underwater cameras (we had none).  We exchanged email addresses so we could have some snaps to remember the very special day.

Some people in the group had been out 3-4 times already.  They rated today the best by far.  Kim and I were very lucky to get the last two seats and have such a good sighting.  A sighting is not guaranteed as we're not in an aquarium. Operators advise going out 3 times to ensure a comprehensive experience; that would make it an extremely expensive holiday.

planxty says:
That looks like such an incredible experience. I have been lucky enough to do whale watching and have swum with a dolphin in the wild but that is unbelievable.
Posted on: Sep 06, 2017
Kathrin_E says:
This must have been a fantastic experience!
Posted on: Sep 05, 2017
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photo by: alexchan