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Having a close encounter with a humpback whale became my dream when I first saw one in Iceland few years ago during a whale watching. I could not imagine back then what was going to happen in Tonga…
Our expedition started like a roller coaster, full on from the start. We had the incredible luck to have our first encounter with a very playful and interactive whale. This first experience literally got my breath away (I could not catch my breath) as this amazing creature came to us, slowly moving below/next to us, looked at us. It is hard to describe the intense emotions/feelings I felt at the time. It is surely not like anything I have ever experienced before, and I feel blessed for this life experience.
Vili, our Tongan guide in the water has been amazing, specially when he took my arm and helped me moving around her as she was playing with us. He enhanced this experience, as I have to say I panicked a bit at the beginning since I did not know what to do and where to go when this 17 metres giant came straight to me. I know now by experience they are extremely gentle, very aware of where we were, moving slowly, knowing somehow how fragile we are compare to them.
I will never forget my other swim with this other interactive female, when I was swimming just next to her, at the level of her eye. This eye to eye contact shook me deep in my soul.
Witnessing the tenderness of a mum and her baby, listening them speaking to each other, enjoying a male’s song, or being (again) lucky enough when a baby came up to me from the deep for a closer look at us tiny humans are priceless moments words cannot fully describe.
These 10 days in Tonga have been like a dream I wish I never wake up from. And saying “thanks” to Scott would not be enough. From the preparation of the trip, to our days in and on the water, I could not have wish for another person than Scott to have this experience with. Sione, Vili and Scott are an amazing team, so knowledgable, and respectful of the whales. The whales always came first before our desires to do anything with them. The world would be a better place if everybody behaved that way. I also remember our lunch breaks next to paradisiac islands, where we could go for a dive and visit the corals gardens and their inhabitants. The cave and underwater cave were mesmerising to me.
So as little as it sounds compared to what I feel: THANK YOU Scott, Vili, Sione (our amazing Tongan skipper who made this experience possible), and the whales… They are in my heart more than ever, and I cannot wait to visit them again.