The Tahiti Traveler

In the eye of the whale

BAleine à Bosse de Polynésie

It is an experience that alone deserves the trip: observe behind the diving mask the huge eye of the humpback whale that scrutinizes you … Are you ready for the big face to face?

From the dive boat that runs along the reef at low speed, we may be already half in the water with our zipped suits, our shod fins and our mask around the neck … we are still far from imagining the emotional discharge that we are about to receive. The eye sweeps the horizon in search of the “spray”, a characteristic geyser of the whale when it empties its lungs by going back to the surface. It can reach three meters in height! Logic for a megaptera that actually measures more than 13 to 14 meters long, for about 25 tons …

On the surface, the divers respect an absolute silence which is imposed only by the solemnity of the expected  encounter. Under the hull, it’s another atmosphere. In the blue depth of the Pacific, the symphony begins in early July, when the song of whales from the South Pole has colonized French Polynesia for this great annual concert that will end only four months later …

Here they are!

Betrayed by their sonic jets and movements of elegant tails, the whales are finally here, just a few fathoms away. The boat stops quietly, at a good distance, while heart is beating faster under the suit. Mask and snorkel in position, it’s time to jump into the water. As usual, clear water offers visibility of several tens of meters. What follows next is something more than could be told. We can just write that what you observe in the huge eye of the whale or its calf has nothing to do with all that you know about the interaction between humans and animals. We can just tell you that this meeting will remain forever engraved in your memory …