Revisiting Tonga this morning, swimming in the wake of this mother and calf was an experience I’ll never forget
Yesterday we met a beautiful mum and calf who let us travel with them for a while and we dropped in and out of their morning. Sometimes they’d be stopped, other times they’d drift slowly along, letting us swim beside them while the little one twirled and twisted, pec slapped and swooshed-by in its own little world. The cloudy sea gave the swims a mysterious and mesmerising tone and made me think I was swimming through the pages of the the very first whale book I saw, “Wake of the Whale” featuring the whale photography of Bill Curtsinger. This was a hard-cased volume that sat quietly on mum’s bookshelf when I was a young teen, and I was only allowed to leaf through the pages if I sat with it at the dining room table (I had to wash my hands first of course). The ritual that mum layered on the viewing of that book engendered respect for the pages and the work and in turn respect for whales themselves. I’m sure it was one of the things that bought me to photography and now nearly 40 years later every time I’m in the water I wonder at how it is I’m so fortunate to spend my days in the company of these enchanting creatures. Happy Sunday! #whalesunderwater #whalesunderwater18 #wuwtonga18 #wuwhumpbacks18 #swimwithwhales #tonga
You can swim in the wake of a whale with me, @pxlexplorer
and the @whalesunderwater
team. Visit www.whalesunderwater.com
We had sunshine today!!! Big swells with longish gaps and wind but Sunshine nonetheless. Yeah! It was really nice to have some sunshine after yesterday’s downpour. Out in the east we found a Mum, Calf and Escort but because the swell was about 2.5m it was hard to keep a good track of them it was a bit of #upsanddowns #nowyouseethemnowyoudont
😆 Luckily we had #croftjnronthejob
. The drops when they did settle were so lovely, the calf was interested in us while her Mum and Escort slept below. Each time the calf came up she inspected us, circled around and even tail swished about a bit. Today however I am feeling excited and I wanted to share with you a personal achievement of sorts. As a person who takes underwater photographs, I have over time created a list of #unicornphotos
I would love to capture, scenes I would so love to come across. And today one of these #unicornmoments
appeared and in that split second I gave it ago and I’m over the moon #surprisedmyself
. It’s not prefect and not exactly the way I have it envisioned but I feel like I’ve gotten a step closer! And that’s awesome for me. So this photo has sculpted reflection that is part of the calf and it’s clear and not confused by the chop. I’m so so excited about it, because I guess when it comes to something like this you just never know when something is going to happen, if it’s at all possible and or if you can even achieve it. And right now on top of an amazing day, the bonus of almost getting one of my unicorn photos means to me that #anythingispossible #keepsdreamsalive #stayinspired #believe
and to be with such amazing people too is just fantastic. 💙🐋 #whalesunderwater #wuwhumpbacks18 #whalesunderwater18 #darrenjew #pxlexplorer #mumandcalf #humpbackwhale #underwaterphotography #babycalf #sculpturedreflections
🇬🇧 This baby was with us for two days in a row. Both times, he was playfull, inquisitive and very curious. He was coming up to take a breath and going down to find his resting mom on the bottom. For more then 1 hour, we stay in the water with them, enjoying this amazing behaviour.
🇧🇷 Este bebê esteve conosco por dois dias seguidos. Nas duas vezes, ele estava brincalhão e super curioso. Ele vinha à superfície para respirar e voltava ao fundo para encontrar sua mãe, que ali descansava. Por mais de uma hora, nós permanecemos na água com eles, apreciando este incrível comportamento.
Back in the Kingdom of Tonga and what an experience!!! I have never been so up close and personal to such a majestic creature. Thank you @whalesunderwater
Today we spent the day with this mother, calf and her escort. The escort is the one closest to the camera. Yesterday the escort stayed way back but today they all come over to play. It was almost impossible to predict where they was going to pop up next so we spent a good hour or two swimming along. But had a couple of real good swims. 😍
Hello! I’d like to show you all something really special, that happened with a Mum, Calf and Escort we swam with today. These 3 seemed to enjoy chilling at the surface for a bit before, diving and moving about below in the depths. So we had a great time swimming about and predicting where they would pop up. 💙🐋 They definitely kept us fit today! We were so lucky that this awesome Mama allowed us to watch her baby feed. Interestingly, she positioned herself directly into the current as she cocked her tail slightly higher towards the surface while her little one nosed around her peduncal and latched on with his tongue. Yes with his tongue! Because Humpbacks don’t really have lips so the calves use their tongues to clasp on to the teat. In the shot (the second one)you can see his cute little tongue doing just that. So for those that haven’t seen a calf suckling before here it is, you can zoom in to check out. And of course she did a big burp afterwards 😆🤗💙🐋#whalesunderwater #wuwhumpbacks18 #whalesunderwater18 #darrenjew #pxlexplorer #mumandcalf #humpbackwhale #suckling #underwaterphotography #babycalf #canyourollyourtongue
🇬🇧 Maybe this is the coolest picture I ever took. This was the most amazing behaviour i saw. A baby girl did a total body breach, with this beautiful twist of the fluke in the air. And the most interesting part, she breached just this only time, out of nowhere. An amazing surprise and a lucky shot.
🇧🇷 Talvez essa tenha sido a foto mais legal que já tirei. Esse comportamento foi o mais impressionante que eu já vi. Essa filhota fez um salto total pra fora e girou a caudal no ar, nesse lindo movimento. E a parte mais interessante, ela saltou essa única vez, do nada! Uma surpresa maravilhosa e um clique de sorte!
Bom dia com essa bebezinha linda no feed. Eu te encontro um dia. 🙏♥️ #savethewhales
Regrann from @darrenjew
- Today was pretty crazy/wild/windy/swelly/ and completely awesome (thanks to a very welcoming trio of mum, calf and escort). Mum would rest down at around 10m, with the escort often positioned right next to her, standing vertically in the water column with his pecks out-stretched. The calf would spend time with them down below and just come up for a few breaths, circling us before heading back down to mum’s side. Our chances for some close-up whale time were during the little guy’s sorties for air, when he’d venture up around us, splashing about in the big swells that were breaking around us. Extreme whale swimming and really quite the adventure! For your own version of Extreme Whales you could join @pxlexplorer
team and me in 2019...
#whalesunderwater #whalesunderwater18 #wuwtonga18 #swimwithwhales
I am still processing what happened this afternoon. I am still on such a high ... a rush! How am I to sleep!🤗 We met this incredible Mum, Calf and Escort in let’s say .... not the best of boating weather days ..... yes it’s not all sunshine, blue skies and tranquil lagoon oceans in the tropics, but hey there’s Humpbacks to swim with 💙🐋. Anywho OMG this Mother certainly wanted the lime light, it was all her. We were on the ready as this paparazzi loving Mom was tail slapping her life away, bursting with energy as she’d been... they all had been snoozing all during lunch. The mother was amazing, The Escort was chilled and only brought his head around now and then, but between the Mom her calf it was like opening night on broadway! Those two certainly put on a show for us, especially Mom. With twists and turns and keeping between us and her baby, she paraded about and did some mini spy hops where she’s just poke the top of her nose just out of the surface right in front of us. She would turn and come back to us and follow us. All the while her calf stayed by Mum’s side or was of doing some energetic tails slaps and breached on her own. The 3 of them were just amazing. 💙🐋#whalesunderwater #wuwhumpbacks18 #whalesunderwater18 #darrenjew #pxlexplorer #humpbackwhale #underwaterphotography
Today was pretty crazy/wild/windy/swelly/ and completely awesome (thanks to a very welcoming trio of mum, calf and escort). Mum would rest down at around 10m, with the escort often positioned right next to her, standing vertically in the water column with his pecks out-stretched. The calf would spend time with them down below and just come up for a few breaths, circling us before heading back down to mum’s side. Our chances for some close-up whale time were during the little guy’s sorties for air, when he’d venture up around us, splashing about in the big swells that were breaking around us. Extreme whale swimming and really quite the adventure! For your own version of Extreme Whales you could join @pxlexplorer
team and me in 2019...
#whalesunderwater #whalesunderwater18 #wuwtonga18 #swimwithwhales
First day swimming with the whales in Tonga! Epic first swim with a mum and calf. Before the bad weather set in. This is the little calf is about 6 weeks old.
Be witness to one of the most beautiful encounters. This Mum, Calf and Escort displayed the most unique sleeping position where the Mum was vertical head down tail up, the Escort horizontal nose to nose with the mother and the calf also at time vertical against Mum’s belly or resting on the Escort’s nose. The tenderness in touch, the gentleness in their movements between the three of them was unparalleled to any other encounter. Very little is known about what the actual role of an Escort is. But in this interaction I saw reason, protection, support, gentleness, strength, stability, devotion, tlc, closeness and love. It was completely moving to watch. Here the Escort is gently lifting the Mother and her Calf ever so carefully and gently to the surface, just a few moments before needing to breath again. Have no idea why, maybe he was allowing them a few more moments of extra shut eye before needing to move on. .
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Swimming with the humpbacks in Tonga! Notice the calf peaking just over it’s mother 💙