Baby Whale Moshpit
Our Humpback Whale snorkeling tour in Moorea felt like a floating mosh pit with a baby whale thrown in now and then. It was psychologically overwhelming and we all needed time to process what had happened once we were back on our boat, Magic. The sea was rowdy that day. It felt like being in a very deep washing machine with two-foot waves crashing over our heads.
Over and over the baby whale came up out of the cobalt blue, its streaks of white becoming more substantial. It approached swimmers confidently and intentionally. Sometimes the baby would swim right into the middle of a group of swimmers, forcing them to part so it could pass. It was fascinating, but also a bit intimidating.
Soon it came over to us. Time stood still, the baby grew larger, coming up out of the big blue until it was right next to us. Then it was looking me in the eye. It was almost close enough to touch. It was huge.
How can it be this close?
Is this ok / really happening?
Am I crowding the whale?
Is it comfortable with this?
Am I comfortable with this?
But the questions racing through our minds don’t matter much. Because the baby whale chooses where it wants to be, and we have little say. The whale is gentle and empathetic. It doesn’t touch the swimmers, but it swirls around and through them like they are tiny pool toys. The swimmers kick and flail, and the whale is like a fat gray torpedo, going where it wants, exploring all the little floaty things.
I swam with my big camera, shooting photos of the whale whenever I could. My macro lens worked perfectly to capture the face of this astonishing whale, who delighted us and surprised us over and over.
Our whale encounter happened a few days ago. But I keep looking at the photos of the baby whale’s face, its eye, the huge waves, and I get the shivers all over again thinking of the experience we had that day.
You can watch a video of the baby whale here: https://youtu.be/WULrEYYMQPw