Today Rick Stanley took me, Chantelle, Bridget, and Margie out to go snorkeling with Humpback whales!! We even had our very own photographer/video-maker; Cecil! Both Chantelle and Cecil work for Rick at Ocean Quest, and I gotta say..they have some preeeettty sweet jobs! Bridget is a family friend, and Margie is a journalist who has written for basically any Newspaper you can think of! Together we all had a ton of energy to build off of! Only the girls were getting in the water, and it was the first time for all of us! This is also Rick’s very first all-girl whale watching trip!
Once we got out on the water Rick instructed us to keep our eyes peeled, and to make sure we were smelling the air. It didn’t take long for us to figure out why we needed to keep our noses’ primed; after about 30minutes of cruising we smelled the first wave of whale breath! And boy can I just say; Someone needs to get some giant tic-tacs out there asap! You definitely smell these guys before you see them! Once we located them visually we sped up in front of them, and waited for the signal! As soon as Rick saw them surface he just yelled: “GO! GO! GO!” We quickly rolled over the side of the boat into the ocean, and started bee-lining it for the whales!
The very first time I got it, I came to the surface, turned around towards the whales, and saw a tail that had to be at least three times my size about 20yards away from me! I knew whales were big, but this gives you one heck of a different perspective! Chantelle and I had my Olympus and Gates cameras in the water with us, but it turns out that it’s really hard to swim close-enough to the whale and get a picture/video when the ocean is tossing you around like a play-toy. Not to mention there was this HUGE algae bloom, so the visibility underwater wasn’t that great for the cameras. However, we were still able to see tons of jellyfish, and the giant shapes of the whales as they swam under us. At one point there was a whale under me, and if it had decided to come-up I would have been sitting on it!
At one point there was a whale-watching boat from a different company out at the same time as us, and all of the passengers were watching us in the water with the whales. We laughed, not sure if they were insanely jealous, or thought we were crazy! We decided they were insanely jealous when I had the brilliant idea to wave at them, and literally the entire ship waved back! It was pretty awesome! Along with some close whale encounters, we also got to see tons of puffins! They live out on the ocean all the time until breeding season, and they were so fat they could barely fly out of the way when the boat was coming through. They skimmed along the top of the water like a skipping stone, and they would abruptly stop flying and promptly sink. It was hilarious and we could not stop laughing at them!
After a while in the water there was a bit of a lull, so Chantelle and I started singing, humming, and speaking whale through our snorkels in hopes of attracting the whales (Rick told us it would help…I think he and Cecil were just laughing at us on the boat!). Eventually we decided to give-up this spot, and started heading back towards the boat. All of a sudden a whale surfaced not six feet behind us! We squealed, turning around as quickly as we could to find ourselves literally in a swarming vortex of 5 or 6 humpback whales!! They were surfacing extremely close to us, and diving right underneath us. There was even a mom and calf! It was absolutely PHENOMENAL! We didn’t want to get out of the water!
Alas, after a few hours it was time to head back. As we were leaving , some of the whales started swimming on their sides, putting a flipper in the air, as if they were waving goodbye. Then, after we started speeding away, we looked back to see one of the whales jump fully out of the water! It was gorgeous! Regular old whale-watching trips just aren’t going to cut it for me anymore! I really hope that I can come back again!