Whale Tales – by Mike Dawson

By now most readers have read about our great extraordinary swim with the whales in Huahene seeing the baby with the mother with in just meters of touching them. The quest continues as we travel these great waters of the Pacific. When arriving in Neiafu Tonga a small Island, we decided to check out the potential dive site called Mariners Cave just off a remote Island. As Gary prepared to enter the water to find the entrance that we only had a idea from a note in a book to look for a colored rock of red and white and a prominent coconut tree and 600 meters from the north end on the Island. Gary jumps in and I motor the boat in the same area since we can not anchor. Gary searches up and down the rock formation with no luck of finding the opening.

As Gary removes his gear I look out between to Islands about 300 meters and see a blow of water. Well that only can come from a WHALE. We get situated and motor around the Island into the large bay. As we approach we spot the where and Gary and Amanda quietly slide overboard to not disturb the whale. They snorkel and see this huge beast 40 plus feet ,again only meters away. The whale dives down and they return to the boat. In lieu of trying to track down the whale I choose to sit the boat still without any engines running. As we search around the bay within ten minutes the whale unannounced pops up within 8 feet of the boat just off the starboard aft side and blows and the whole whale is next to the boat on the surface. Needless to say it freaked me out with the noise and excitement of being so close with the boat. You could see the eyes right their looking back at you. Priceless!!!!

This story does not end here, the encounters keep coming only this one happened on our early morning passage when leaving a small Island on Tuesday morning. We pulled up anchor about 6am and set sail for another enchanted Island. With the boat at full sail under power at 9.2 kts and winds blowing at 15 to 25 kts we are just kicking butt. Amanda went back to bed and Gary was baking banana bread when I looked over the bow of the boat streaming across the seas when 10 feet in front of me, mind you at 9.2 kts full sail a 50 ft whale lies broadside to the boat. I have no time to react. I just said a quick DIVE PLEASE DIVE and the whale sinks away and we survive to tell the story. Hitting a whale of that size straight on would have or could have done some serious damage to Shellette and us. Speeding through the water at that speed with an instant stop use your imagination of what could have occurred.

I do not know what the sign of a whale is in Marquise but it must mean goodness of some kind. If a Mantras means freedom and a turtle means long life I can only imagine!!!!!!


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