Moorea – A Fluke Encounter
We enjoyed the morning dive, drifting with the current outside the reef. The
wind was blowing opposite of the current which made it a bit more strenuous
to tow the dinghy than yesterday when they were flowing the same direction.
I tried to hold onto the dinghy as a test for when Scott has a camera, but I
could not kick against the pull of the dinghy on the surface blown by the
wind. So Muscle Man got his workout. We saw the usual suspects but it was a
bit ho-hum. There are plenty of fish, but the coral looks dead, brownish. We
see the occasional black tip reef shark.
After the dive we had drifted down by the second bay so decided to take the
dinghy inside the reef to return to “Beach House”. We knew there were some
very shallow spots but have seen other small boats zooming in there, so gave
it a try. As we neared an anchorage area, we spotted catamaran “Azizah” that
we had first met in the Marquesas. We went over to say hello to Semia from
Brazil & her French man. As we were catching up with them, another couple in
a dinghy came up excitedly to tell us there was a whale Mama & Baby INSIDE
the bay & they had snorkeled with them for an hour. We all sprung into
action & zoomed over there. There were about 5 other boats in the area &
sure enough the mother & baby humpbacks were surfaced & letting snorkelers
swim very near. We both slipped in the water & had a real thrill. The water
was murky green, so despite how easy they were to see above water, it was
hard to see below. But when they moved a fluke or turned to expose their
white underside areas we could see them well. Intermittently they would dive
down for awhile. Young babies cannot hold their breath long, so it surfaced
often. We enjoyed watching them for about an hour. One of the local guys in
an outrigger canoe said they have been seeing this humpback pair for about 3
weeks. A late season baby – how lucky for us! The Baby was about 15 feet
long. The Mama a big 40 feet. We were astonished at how calm she seemed even
with 10-15 people near them in the water plus several small boats. We all
turned our engines off when close. We also know not to attempt to touch
them, but they each brushed up against Scott as they swam by. I swam out of
the way of Mom\’s enormous fluke in order not to be bashed by the 12 foot
long, thousand pound appendage. Incredible. It started out as just any other
day…you just never know what will happen. Very very exciting. We hope to
see them again. Hunger eventually drove us back to “Beach House”, but we
plan to re-anchor over there in hope to see them again in Oponohu bay.
While talking to the couple on “Azizah”, they asked if we would be going to
see the big canoe race, Hawaikinuivaa, next week. We had heard about it.
About 200 outriggers participate from all over the world. It is one of the
biggest events in the Society Islands for the whole year. We looked at each
other & grinned – why not? The weather is predicted to be calm & it gives us
a great reason to explore the other islands. The race starts in Huahine
which for us will be an overnight sail. Then it is about 30 miles to
Raiatea, then 5 miles to Tahaa. The finish will be 30 miles further at Bora
Bora. There will be much fanfare & parties at each end. FUN FUN FUN!
So we are going to go the little market here soon to stock up on food so we
don\’t have to worry about shopping on the other islands. Depending on whale
sightings we will set sail either Friday or Saturday night.
Just when you think you are in a routine, something changes. Stay tuned for
more \”tales\” of adventure!
Cindy & Scott