I got a message today from one of the people that joined me in Tonga in September of this year. It seems John found time to edit together a video slide show from our trip. We enjoyed nine days of whale watching and swimming. This was their first time to Tonga and first time snorkeling with large animals and they were quite respectful of the whales and it was a lot fun watching them have the time of their lives.
When working with wild animals there is a lot of time spent observing whale behavior. Not every whale is open to an interaction with humans so there is a lot of waiting for the moment when the captain says “get ready”. These are magic words for sure but even then it does not guarantee a whale swim. What it means is that were seeing behavior that indicates a swim is possible and its time to be in mask and fins on the deck waiting to here the words “in the water”….
The next few minutes are spent swimming onto position to see the whales. Once observed we stop and act like jellyfish. We simply float and watch. What we want to have happen is that the mother feels comfortable with our presence. At the point this happens we float with the whales and observe their behavior. As the interaction progresses the whales become even more at ease and swim really close to check us out.
After watching this video I am more excited than ever for next season. Have a whale of a new year everyone!