2017 Moorea Trip Report


MOOREA TRIP REPORT

By Mark Strickland



You know you’re in for a special experience even before setting foot on Moorea. Whether approaching by air or sea, Moorea’s jagged mountains, lush jungles and turquoise lagoon encircled by deep blue ocean are nothing short of spectacular. But our main objective here was swimming with and photographing humpback whales, a goal we met and exceeded on each of two five-day expeditions. During those trips, we saw multiple whales every day, with in-water encounters 9 days out of 10. Among the best was on the morning of the first day - a very relaxed mother and calf in clear water that we had all to ourselves for over an hour.  Other days were slower, but included a wide variety of behaviors. Many times, we were also treated to exciting topside action such as pec slapping, lob-tailing, spy-hopping, and multiple full breaches… up to 40 tons of whale in mid-air!  We also witnessed a heat run—four highly motivated males pursuing a female at top speed, sometimes very close to the boat!  Another interesting encounter involved a single male humpback, hovering motionless at 50 ft, singing so loudly that we could actually feel the vibrations!

 


Another highlight was an absolutely amazing encounter with 6 sub-adult humpbacks gently playing with one another, swimming slowly enough that we could actually keep up.  At the same time, there were a handful of pilot whales swimming among them, AND a school of yellowfin tuna, AND a couple oceanic whitetip sharks!!!  The pilot whales, tuna and sharks soon went on their way, but we had over an hour with the whales, which everyone including the captain and crew fully appreciated as the rare event that it was.  

 


The next day, we again encountered a group of 5 playful, curious sub-adults. They were constantly on the move so it required lots of swimming, but they kept circling back to us, so everyone got a good look at all 5 of them underwater, including some very close passes. Even our last day, which had been rather unproductive through mid-afternoon, brought an unexpected treat. As we debated calling it quits, an adult humpback breached in the distance, leading us to a brief but great in-water encounter with a mother and calf as well as three adult male escorts, all of which circled back for several looks at us.  All in all it was an amazing trip, which only makes me all the more eager to return next year… hope you can join us!  

 

 

HOW TO BOOK A TRIP TO MOOREA

 

Are you interested in learning more about Moorea, French Polynesia?  Feel free to read our destination page here: Diving French Polynesia

Would you like to join one of our upcoming Moorea trips for next year? Checkout our full list of trips here to see if any upcoming dates work for you: Bluewater Trips

In 2018 we have:

Moorea Photo Workshop September 15 - 22, 2018

Moorea Whale Trips September/October 2018

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