Idea #684 – Swimming with humpback whales in Tahiti
Humpback whales are the largest marine mammals in the world. They leave their feeding zone at the poles and travel thousands of kilometers to reach the tropical waters to mate and breed there. The waters of French Polynesia provide a resting place for these animals, especially for mothers and newborns, thanks to the presence of lagoons and shallow reef areas. In Polynesia, the first whales arrive in June and the last ones leave in December, the peak of the season being between August and November. They frequent for the great majority the islands of the Society, in particular the islands with the wind (Tahiti, Moorea, Tetiaroa) At the end of the season, a large number of whales gather at the south of the peninsula (Te Pari) before starting their long migration to the South Pole.
We are fortunate to be able to meet calves and their mothers, groups of juveniles or over-excited adults, or singing males during the season. After a phase of identification that can be long, based in particular on the identification of the breath of adults on the surface, the boat must approach at low speed to avoid disturbing mammals. After joining the whales with water, a phase of mutual observation begins: the whales must get used to our presence and accept it; otherwise, they will disappear immediately by diving. The respect of a distance of observation is guarantor of a beautiful observation and a necessary respect of the animal. In return, this calf and his mother gave us an incredible show.
Where is it?
Tahiti, Polynésie Française, France