There are days when life reserves us surprises...
I left with my group of six people. The captain, our boat, to make as usual a descent of the Tiputa pass in PMT (fins, mask and snorkel). Honestly, seeing the group, I had a feeling that it would be a difficult trip.
As soon as we arrived on the ocean side channel, the captain shouted "Whale" ! At first I thought it was not serious and yet the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) was there, in front of us.
We followed her into the ocean and then she went to the edge of the atoll near the reef. We jumped into the water with all the fear it could bring. Only one person wanted to follow me and then finally everyone jumped in the water.
The captain stayed at a good distance and let us swim slowly towards the animal. It was playing on the surface, alone, very calm and in a depth of only 20 meters. I held two tourists by the hands and the others stayed behind. As we approached, the whale remained stationary at the surface, two bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) were playing in front of it and we had many fish around them. She looked at us, approached the group in an oblique way and then slowly left. A few magic minutes. We could still follow her but she started to want to go away towards the open sea.
We followed her by boat and then returned to Tiputa Pass. I had a hard time concentrating for the next few hours. In the evening, I celebrated in a nice restaurant on the atoll.
I had seen it in Canada but never underwater. All the books I have read about it and seen so many photographs. A deep dream comes true.
One of the tourists had a diving camera, he should send me his pictures and his little movie at the end of August 2009. I will come back on it.
Have a good week. Best wishes.
Rangiroa - French Polynesia - August 2009.