POLYNESIA. SWIMMING WITH WHALES IN TONGA ISLANDS. ADVENTURE TRAVEL
But that very same morning on my fourth day I decided to take photographs from a different angle. I wanted to capture both whales and people in a single shot to reflect the fact that we really were swimming with whales using neither diving equipment or cages, completely free in the middle of the sea.
I asked the guide’s permission to distance myself from the group a little, and while I was waiting something magical happened. Something made me turn my head away from the group and at that moment I saw an enormous male swimming straight toward me at full speed. The humpback whale was bearing down on me because I was on the path between him and his anxious mate. The reason was very simple: in the last few weeks before the calf comes of age, males known as “escorts” try to make the most of the circumstances to copulate with the females. The male was a truly magnificent sight to behold. When seen head-on, he was about as tall as a human being. As I lifted my camera, I caught his penetrating gaze. It was then I realized that my presence had caught him by surprise. He hadn’t even seen me! And that stands to reason. Compared to his size, I was like what a pigeon would be to a human being. The surprise in the eyes of this creature, noticing my presence in his universe, moved me deeply. What happened next? To put it simply, these animals have so much respect for us that the creature turned in front of me. The animal’s inertia was so great that it changed direction just a few feet away from me – a magical moment. Just as my camera was capturing this unique instant, the majestic male plunged down into the water in search of its mate.
This is one of the trips I suggest in my book 10 original trips to enjoy Earth, www.adventuretravel.travel