Maupiti. Meeting with a whale. Polynesia, October 2012.

My first whale

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the strange sentences and the funny mistakes that could gave been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here PetitesBullesdAilleurs.fr

  Polynesia: Maupiti + Rangiroa + Moorea - October 2012

In Polynesia, there are not only lagoons, coconut palms and yukulélés. There is also the ocean and the whales!

A calf not shy

Except on TV, I had never seen a whale before this trip to Polynesia in october 2012.

It happened in the archipelago of the Society, near the island of Maupiti, ocean side, of course.

It was during a diving trip, with the adorable Lionel Clin, monitor of Maupiti Nautique [EDIT: the Maupiti diving center is now known as Maupiti Diving and it is held by Yannick and Nelly]. It is the only structure on the island for scuba diving (finally, "structure" is a big word, let's say that it is Lionel's house that serves as a center, and, for to dive, just contact him: he organizes everything for you, he picks you up and takes you to his boat).

That day, there are four of us on the boat: a couple of French divers, Emmanuelle and Bruno, Lionel and myself. We have just finished our dive.

Still wet, we prepare to return to the island when Lionel spots the gray back of a whale between two waves.

Maupiti. Meeting with a whale. Polynesia, October 2012.

Maupiti. Meeting with a whale. Polynesia, October 2012.

Quickly, I take back my fat waterproof box containing the camera, with which I just made pictures underwater.

I do not have time to wipe the dome, on which the drops still trickle. With the weight of the box, the swell and the drops of water, the photos will be rotten, but too bad.

We scan the waves, when suddenly, close to us, on the port side, there is this strange noise: "Pfffff ... pschiiit ..." At 2 meters from the hull of the boat, we see a whale appear!

Or rather, a calf. Yes, it is smaller than the whale seen further (the mother, presumably), but of good size anyway! Surely bigger than our boat.

Maupiti. Meeting with a whale. Polynesia, October 2012.

Not shy at all, he came to see us up close, really very close - we realize it well on one of the poor pictures that I managed to take, since there is even in the frame, in the left corner, the blond hair of Emmanuelle ...

Maupiti. Meeting with a whale. Polynesia, October 2012.

We just have time to catch a glimpse of his curious eye for a brief moment, and here he is diving! He probes under the boat, disappears, and comes out on the other side, to starboard! It stays a little on the surface, taking its distance, this time, then disappears again under water.

Unbelievable ! ! !

Maupiti. Meeting with a whale. Polynesia, October 2012.

We hesitate for a moment to get into the water, in palms-mask-snorkel only, to try to see the whales again, but the waves and the current dissuade us.

We come back, excited, amazed ... Not coming back from our luck.

The breath of the whale

Since scuba diving (my first bubbles date back to 1999), I had the chance to cross the road (on a boat or underwater) some big beasts that live in the sea: dolphins, sharks, moonfish, manta rays and even whale sharks (well, a whale shark, in Richelieu Rock, Thailand, in 2006)…

But never before, I had met whales.

So, of course, it's something to see coming out of the water, close to the boat, the enormous gray backdrop of a big beast that makes "Pffff ..." Before being impressed by the show, by the size of the animal, I am touched, upset, by his breath.

There is no more moving than this hissing, this exhalation, which means: this beast is not a fish, this beast is like me, it breathes air, all the same as me ...

Short. I met my first whale in Maupiti, Polynesia. And I still do not recover.

😲

Trip to Polynesia - October 2012

  Polynesia: Maupiti + Rangiroa + Moorea - October 2012

    1. @ Jérémy Janin: yes, it's really magic !!! To say it is one thing, to live it is another ... We were still in the right season. They can be very numerous in the area.

    1. @Manta: yes, it's beautiful, amazing, moving ... You can not imagine how happy I am to have had the chance to live such a moment !!!

      If I have to return to Polynesia one day, I will first learn about the whale season to put the odds on my side and have the opportunity to relive that ... (sigh)
      🙄

  1. We also had the chance to swim with them in Moorea, and all the meetings made in Polynesia this one remains the most beautiful (tied with my mantas 😛)
    They were lagoon side so we could swim with and hear the male sing !! A concentrate of happiness this day!
    I am thinking of sending you an email quickly, we are planning a trip to Thailand and I may need your lights for the dives

    Julian

    1. @Julien: lagoon side !!! Wahoo ... And you've even heard the famous whale song ... Fantastic !!! It must have been really amazing ... I'll have to go back, I want to live that too !!!

      For Thailand, do not hesitate to send me a note in private ... 🙂

    1. @Nono: Wonderful, yes, that's the word ... 🙂
      I had never seen a whale neither dead nor alive before this day of October 2012. I hope to see others, and alive!

  2. It reminds me of my "sperm whale" stay in Mauritius. I was lucky to swim in the middle of a whalebone and it's an amazing experience.
    Too bad you could not swim with.

    1. @Denis: arf, it must have been something, say ...

      For my part, it was already a sacred first, this meeting! Going into the water, given the sea conditions that day, would have been a bit risky. But I hope to have the chance to see whales again, and to be able to swim close to them one day ...
      😉

    1. @Laurence: meeting absolutely brilliant, yes !!! I have only one desire, relive that, but by swimming with the whales, the next time ...
      🙄

  3. But ... but ... how is it possible, I saw a whale before you 🙂
    Well, ok, not at all so close ...

    For me, it was in the north of Iceland ... but I will not be against crossing them in a warmer sea 🙂

    1. @Piotr: fortunately I do not have exclusivity on whales around the world ... 😀
      Now, I dream of being able to swim with them !!!!

    1. @Curious Voyageuse: exceptional, that's for sure !!! 🙂 Delighted to have shared this moment with you via my Little Bubbles Elsewhere!

  4. Amazed to see that after all these trips, you did not see a whale in October 2012! The first I saw was in Sydney during the season in October. An exceptional memory, I was amazed to see this monster!

  5. Cool whales 🙂 always a great memory, I was there 3 years a beautiful day in October too, out of the port of Saint Gilles in Reunion, in front of the surf spot Roches Noires.
    She was so close to the shore that surfers paddled on their boards, mingling with the divers and as the day was not good enough, suddenly a dolphin bench appeared and slipped among the surfers, divers and the whale. 😮

    But go on a tour on the island of Reunion in September / October, I am sure that common knowledge will be happy to take you dive with whales and sometimes their calf. 8)

  6. Waaaah ... what luck, Corinne!
    I imagine the body despite the massive calf waving and see this eye that you describe coming out of the water to look at you ... what time it had to be!

    1. @OlympiaOnBoard: thanks for the link! I have been to Samana Bay in the Dominican Republic, a long time ago, twice, but out of the whale season, alas ... What you saw is even more spectacular! What emotion ...
      🙄

  7. The dream! I did not have the chance to see more, it must be an exceptional moment! Thank you for this story and these photos ...

  8. hello Corinne, I live in Maupiti for 14 years and, of course Lionel knows because I dive regully with him quad he is not too busy ... At this moment, the whales are there, in Maupiti, and that even Yesterday, two of these mammals entered the La Gon which mobilized some of the Maupiti boats to guide them to the exit because the lagoon is shallow in some places and they might injure the corals, or worse, to fail ... Operation carried out for good and with the participation of Lionel (the video should be on the web soon) The whales are customary of the fact and it is, for me, the fourth time that it arrives and there is more in more whales around Maupiti, on average 10 to 15 with their young, so if you come back one day in Maupiti, whale season is from July to November, when they come to give birth in our waters ... .That's magic to be able to approach them in this way and I do not get tired , 'is on ! there is also mantas rays in the lagoon, there is also one of the only two sites in polynesia where we can approach very close mantas rays ... A true paradise this Maupiti!

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