Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Swimming with the whales!

Yesterday, I can barely believe it myself, we swam with humpback whales. It was, in a word- Awesome. Intense. Humbling. Insane.

Tonga is one of two countries in the world where you can swim with whales.
The humpbacks migrate to Tonga every year from June- October to mate and have their babies.

We got picked up in the early morning, and it wasn't long before the other boat with our company spotted a whale. We zoomed out past the island-protected parts of the ocean, into some pretty big waves. It was....much more adventurous and intense then I thought it was going to be. It was all I could do not to throw up, and the waves were so big that at times I literally felt like we were on a rollercoaster because we would come down off of a wave and my stomach would drop right to my feet. We would spot the spout of a whale and when the wave crashed over it and uncovered its size it was so amazing. Then, with one flick of its tail, we would lose it, and the search would begin again. When we spotted the whales,the driver would gun the two 115 horse powered engines, and off we'd go.

There were eight "tourists" on the boat and a driver and guide. Only four people were allowed in the water with the whales at a time. We went with the other married couple, Ryan and Abby. We were amazed that in this crazy choppy water, when the time came for us to slide out of the boat, we put our heads in the water and were right above a mother and baby whale.

Looking for the whales

The other group sliding into the water

A little bit rough.....

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