Close Encounters with Humpback Whales in French Polynesia 2024 - Bluewater Dive Travel

Close Encounters with Humpback Whales in French Polynesia 2024

people snorkel next to a humpback whale in Moorea

 

Close Encounters with Humpback Whales in French Polynesia

Imagine being picked up by a boat directly from your hotel jetty. A trip where you can have a close encounter with a whale 10 minutes after leaving the dock. A location that puts you in warm, clear water, takes one-third of the time to get to compared to other humpback whale destinations and costs half the price. A trip where the operator never cuts a whale encounter short. A trip where you are on a boat with a small group of people (6 or 8) compared to 20 people on the "day boats". This is the amazing trip that Scott Gietler experienced, and has put together for you to enjoy - a trip of a lifetime. Scott had whale encounters every day he was on the water. Snorkel only, no dive certification required!

On this trip, we have two different trip options available. Our 4* Cook's Bay Hotel & Suites Package or our 5* Manava Beach Resort & Spa Package . See the package details for more information and the trip dates for when each trip is running.  

 

Why Join This Trip?

  • Best in-water Humpback whale experience in the world
  • Possibly the most beautiful island on the planet
  • A resort and island so beautiful it will leave an ever-lasting impression
  • ⅓ the travel time of Tonga for most guests
  • Aimed at Adventurers - to provide the best possible experience, this trip includes some elements that are best suited to adventure travelers. Contact Us for more details.

Choose from the following dates:

AUGUST 31 - SEPTEMBER 7

4* Cook's Bay Hotel & Suites - $3,750

Trip Type: Photo Group Trip  |  Trip Leader: Mike Pizzi

SEPTEMBER 7 - 14 

4* Cook's Bay Hotel & Suites - $3,750

Trip Type: Photo Group Trip  |  Trip Leader: Mark Strickland

SEPTEMBER 14 - 21  

4* Cook's Bay Hotel & Suites - $3,750

Trip Type: Photo Group Trip  |  Trip Leader: Paul Vukovich

SEPTEMBER 21 - 28

4* Cook's Bay Hotel & Suites - $3,750

Trip Type: Photo Group Trip  |  Trip Leader: Mark Hatter

SEPTEMBER 28 - OCTOBER 5

5* Manava Beach Resort & Spa Package - $4,450

Trip Type: Photo Group Trip  |  Trip Leader: Erik Lukas

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TRIP EXTENSIONS

Make the most of your time in French Polynesia and extend your trip to experience some of the best diving in the world.

Find out more

 

Check out this awesome video! Then subscribe to our channel

Moorea Trip Report 2022 Moorea Trip Report 2022

Moorea 2019 Trip Report Moorea 2019 Trip Report 

To get a little insight as to what the trip is like, read the reports from our 2021 and 2022 trips!  

 

4* Cook's Bay Hotel & SuiteS PACKAGE DETAILS

7 nights for $3,750 per person

See: Inclusions & Exclusions  -  Accommodation  -  Boats

Our Cook's Bay Resort package is based at Moorea's newest resort. Brand new 4* accommodation makes for an affordable trip without compromising on a superior on-water experience. This trip is perfect for guests whose main goal is to get in the water with whales and don't need a luxury resort experience.


cooks bay resort room balcony upper level Moorea Trip Report 2022 Moorea whale snorkeling trip Large Boat

Moorea Trip Moorea Trip Report 2022 


inclusions

  • Small group size (max 6 people on small boat with 1 guide, max 8 people on large boat with 1 guide).
  • 7 nights accommodation at Cook's Bay Hotel & Suites, twin occupancy in a Standard Suite.
  • Lunch provided on the boat days.
  • 5 days on the water looking for whales, weather permitting, on a private boat with captain and guide, and 1 day of rest to explore or relax.


EXCLUSIONS

  • Breakfast & dinner are not included at Cook's Bay Hotel & Suites. Buying food at the grocery store can be inexpensive. Most restaurants will pick you up free of charge from the hotel, but the restaurants can be pricey. There are a number of reasonably priced places to eat within walking distance of Cook's Bay Hotel & Suites, including a pizza stand and a roadside grill. Lunch is not included on non-boat days.
  • Upgrades to a single occupancy room.
  • Mandatory City Tax and optional ‘Eco Donation’ paid to the resort on check-out.
  • Ferry to and from Moorea ~$30 USD round trip.  There are two ferry companies: Aremiti https://www.aremiti.net/schedule (runs 2 ferry boats) and Terevau https://www.terevau.pf/en/schedules/ (runs 1 ferry boat).
  • Transfers between the airport and ferry, then the ferry and resort: There is a taxi company located right on the pier, and they charge 2.500 CFP for the cab that can seat up to eight passengers (roughly USD 25). There is also a public bus service that leaves from the pier upon the arrival of the fast ferries, and the price is 350 CFP per person one way (roughly USD 3.5). There is also the ALBERT TRANSPORT mini-bus shuttle which is also on the pier upon arrival of the fast ferries and the price person one way for this is 700 CFP (roughly USD 6.7) and you may book online at  ftino@albert-transport.net or info@albert-transport.net .
  • Tips.
  • Private guide.
  • Travel Insurance: click here to learn more about our preferred plan.
 

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Cook's Bay Hotel & Suites

Cook's Bay Hotel & Suites is a haven of luxury nestled in a breathtaking tropical paradise. A short stroll from these coastal retreats, unwind and luxuriate in the resort's exclusive outdoor sanctuary. Encompassing a generously-sized pool with a reflective surface, this meticulously designed area extends to a sandy shoreline. Here, a pristine and shallow lagoon beckons you to refresh yourself at any time during the day. The dining experience is equally spectacular at their restaurant and bar, situated at the end of a charming footbridge, provides a 180-degree view of Cook's Bay, surrounding peaks, and the Teavaroa Pass. Prepare to be captivated by the unique and awe-inspiring setting that defines Cook's Bay Hotel & Suites.

 

cooks bay resort arial cooks bay resort pool cooks bay resort restaurant

 

The resort's 38 suite each feature a kitchenette and a spacious balcony for indulging in the stunning views.  The suites located at the garden-level offer direct beach and pool access, while the upper floor boasts wider views of the island. 

cooks bay resort room balcony upper level cooks bay resort room garden suite cooks bay resort room

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SMALL BOAT

  • Semi-inflatable 24ft / 7.5m boat
  • Smaller than most boats and carries less guests, allowing more intimate whale encounters
  • Space for maximum of 6 guests including Trip Leader
  • Boat captain and Guide
  • The central area is open for gear storage and allows ease of movement around the boat
  • Seating on floor or tubes

Moorea Trip Moorea Trip Moorea Trip

 

LARGE BOAT

  • 31ft / 9.5m boat
  • We limit this 10 person capacity boat to only 8 guests to allow for intimate whale experiences while providing far more comfort and space
  • An additional guide to help look for whales and to support guests with different swimming abilities 
  • Fixed central seats for added comfort

Moorea whale snorkeling trip Large Boat Moorea whale snorkeling trip Large Boat Moorea whale snorkeling trip Large Boat 

 


 

5* Manava Beach Resort & Spa Package details

7 nights for $4,450 per person

See: Inclusions & Exclusions  -  Accommodation  -  Boats

Our new, 5* Manava Beach Resort & Spa Package benefits from one of the best resorts in Moorea. Superior accommodation in a more desirable location. This trip is perfect for guests seeking the ultimate Moorea experience, both on the boat, in the water, and at the resort. 

 

 Moorea Trip Report 2022 Manava Beach Resort Moorea Arial View Manava Beach Resort Moorea Arial View

 Moorea whale snorkeling trip Large Boat Moorea Trip Report 2022 Moorea Trip

 

INCLUSIONS

  • Small group size (max 6 people on small boat with 1 guide, max 8 people on large boat with 1 guide).
  • 7 nights accommodation at the 5* Manava Beach Resort, twin occupancy in a Garden View Room.
  • Daily breakfast.
  • Lunch provided on the boat days.
  • 5 days on the water looking for whales, weather permitting, on a private boat with captain and guide, and 1 day of rest to explore or relax.


EXCLUSIONS

  • Dinner is not included at Manava Beach Resort. Most restaurants will pick you up free of charge from the hotel. There is a good range of restaurant options within walking distance of Manava Beach Resort. Lunch is not included on non-boat days.
  • Upgrades to a bungalow with private pool, overwater bungalow, or to a single occupancy room.
  • Mandatory City Tax and optional ‘Eco Donation’ paid to the resort on check-out.
  • Ferry to and from Moorea ~$30 USD round trip.  There are two ferry companies:
    Aremiti https://www.aremiti.net/schedule (runs 2 ferry boats)
    Terevau https://www.terevau.pf/en/schedules/ (runs 1 ferry boat).
  • Transfers between the airport and ferry, then the ferry and resort: There is a taxi company located right on the pier, and they charge 2.500 CFP for the cab that can seat up to eight passengers (roughly USD 25). There is also a public bus service that leaves from the pier upon the arrival of the fast ferries, and the price is 350 CFP per person one way (roughly USD 3.5). There is also the ALBERT TRANSPORT mini-bus shuttle which is also on the pier upon arrival of the fast ferries and the price person one way for this is 700 CFP (roughly USD 6.7) and you may book online at  ftino@albert-transport.net or info@albert-transport.net
  • Tips.
  • Private guide.
  • Travel Insurance: click here to learn more about our preferred plan.

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MANAVA BEACH RESORT & Spa

The charming Manava Beach Resort & Spa is a perfect blend of luxury and serenity, making it an ideal destination for couples, honeymooners, divers, and families. The syle of the resort is a tasteful combination of the traditional and the contemporary, with a powerful sense of Polynesia.

 

 

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SMALL BOAT

  • Semi-inflatable 24ft / 7.5m boat
  • Smaller than most boats and carries less guests, allowing more intimate whale encounters
  • Space for maximum of 6 guests including Trip Leader
  • Boat captain and Guide
  • The central area is open for gear storage and allows ease of movement around the boat
  • Seating on floor or tubes

Moorea Trip Moorea Trip Moorea Trip

 

LARGE BOAT

  • 31ft / 9.5m boat
  • We limit this 10 person capacity boat to only 8 guests to allow for intimate whale experiences while providing far more comfort and space
  • An additional guide to help look for whales and to support guests with different swimming abilities 
  • Fixed central seats for added comfort

Moorea whale snorkeling trip Large Boat Moorea whale snorkeling trip Large Boat Moorea whale snorkeling trip Large Boat 


TRIP TYPE

Trip type is specified under the trip dates section of this page. Please see corresponding descriptions below.

PHOTO GROUP TRIPS

Led by a professional or experienced photographer who will be happy to provide advice and guidance on all elements of your photography as required. The logistics of this trip mean that formal photography tutorials and workshops are not practical. 

What to expect from our Photo Group Trips

  • Photography support - Your trip leader will ensure that they spend time with everyone throughout the trip, providing advice and guidance on all elements of photography. If you have specific questions about your equipment, shot composition, or post-processing, they will be happy to support you.
  • Quality time with fellow photographers - You will meet like-minded divers or travelers with a passion for photography. Newer photographers will benefit from the experience of more advanced shooters, and those with experience can share their advice and tips with the group. 
  • Suitable for everyone - New and experienced photographers are welcome on all our trips. Gain the necessary skills to start shooting great photos, increase your confidence in finding the best underwater shots, or hone specific skills. We also encourage non-photographers to join, and do our best to split groups according to skills and interests. 

Enjoy free,  unlimited access to a wealth of knowledge and advice from your photo instructor.

 

Additional Information

  • Please bring your own wetsuit, mask, and fins. There are no rental options on the island. A full 3mm wetsuit is recommended; many guests have skipped the wetsuit and gotten very cold when the weather got windy and cloudy.
  • We are not in the water all day. There may be long periods of time when you’re on the boat looking for whales. 
  • Guests must be good swimmers for this trip. Due to local regulations, we are dropped 100m away from the whales and must swim at a brisk pace up to them from that distance. It is possible to hire a private guide to help you swim if you are not a good swimmer. Please inquire for more details.
  • Many guests have gotten sunburn even though there is shade on the boat, so all skin must be covered. We suggest a hat, scarf for face/lips, face gaiter, full skin or wetsuit, and plenty of sunscreen. 
  • Guests are required to be physically able to get up a small boat ladder on their own. If assistance is required to climb up a boat ladder, a private guide will be placed on the boat to assist you at your own expense.

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INTERNET/WI-FI

The WiFi in many resorts around French Polynesian can be intermittent, especially in the islands of Rangiroa and Fakarava. It is worth checking if your cell provider offers data bolt-ons to give you connectivity during your trip.

There are also a surprisingly good number of options to buy local data when you arrive in Tahiti. Tahiti WiFi has a stand in the airport where you can rent a box that connects you to WiFi on most islands (it doesn’t work so well in Fakarava and Rangiroa). The box acts as a router and allows you to connect several devices to WiFi at one time. It can be pre-booked for you to pick up at the airport or delivered to your hotel https://www.tahitiwifi.com/. They offer various data packages starting at 5GB for 4,600 XPF ($7).

A cheaper option would be to buy a SIM card for your phone which you can then use to ‘hotspot’ to other devices. The Tahiti WiFi stand sells Vodafone SIM packages which work well in Tahiti and Moorea, but again aren’t so great in the more remote islands. They offer 3 packages starting at 2GB data, 30 minutes of local calls, and unlimited texts for around $4. Once you have your SIM card, you can top it up or buy more data at most supermarkets around the islands.

If you plan to island hop and will be exploring Fakarava or Rangiroa, your best option is to buy a SIM from local provider Vini https://www.vini.pf/mobile/international/vini-travel-card. These can be purchased from Cafe Maeva at the airport. Their packages are a bit more expensive but offer excellent coverage all over French Polynesia. For example, the Vini Travel Card costs 4,000 XPF ($33) and gives you 9GB data as well as some ‘bonus’ calls and texts. Once you have your SIM card you can top it up at most supermarkets around the islands.

Finally, if you arrive out of hours and everything at the airport is closed, there is a gas station within a 5 minute walk of the airport that also sells local SIM cards.

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FLIGHT INFORMATION

Guests will fly into and out of the international airport on Tahiti in Papeete (code PPT). From there, it is a 15-minute taxi ride to the ferry port, where you can purchase a ticket on-site to cross the channel to Moorea Island (typically about a 45-minute journey). You can take a taxi from Moorea ferry port to your accommodation which is about 15-25 minutes away.

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Sample Itinerary

  • Day 1: International flight arrival at Tahiti (airport code: PPT), take a ferry to Moorea, hotel arrival.
  • Day 2 - 6: Look for whales 8 AM-4 PM (times are examples based on previous years and not guaranteed to be the same each year).
  • Day 7: Day of rest. Can be used to scuba dive the many sites around Moorea, explore the island, or potentially add another day of whale swimming (dependent on boat availability and agreement between all guests during the trip).
  • Day 8: Depart hotel, take the ferry back to Tahiti for flight.

 

 

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ABOUT THE TRIP LEADERS 

MICHAEL PIZZI

Michael Pizzi is a trip leader, travel advisor, and photo sales specialist for Bluewater. He has been diving since his certification in 2010, which he completed in the Florida Keys. He went on to complete his Divemaster in Roatan Honduras, and then spent a year diving all over Southeast Asia. Michael is now based in a small beach town in Los Angeles where he frequently explores the kelp forests and the Mexican Baja peninsula. He currently shoots a Sony A7S III and focuses on capturing the behavior of pelagic species through cinematography. Please contact Michael with any questions regarding dive travel or underwater photography/videography.

Read more about Michael here.

 
 
 

MARK STRICKLAND

Mark Strickland’s life-long interest in the sea has included over 10,000 dives and careers as a lifeguard, boat captain, and scuba instructor. His passion for underwater photography has led him to many top dive locales, including Virgin Islands, Australia, and Thailand, where he spent 17 years as Cruise Director on a series of liveaboards. Mark now resides in Ventura county, California.

An avid marine naturalist, Mark has discovered several nudibranch species. He is the co-author and principal photographer for Lonely Planet’s award-winning book, “Diving and Snorkeling Thailand”, and his work appears in many magazines, books and displays around the world. Currently, Mark leads several dive trips each year to his favorite destinations, while working on a career-spanning large-format pictorial book.

Read more about Mark here.

 

MARK HATTER

Mark Hatter is an accomplished photojournalist who has had nearly one hundred feature articles with many hundreds of images published in more than two dozen fly fishing and diving publications over the last two decades.  His most recent destination features have appeared in Alert Diver and Diver (UK) magazines. 

Mark has traveled the world in pursuit of new underwater photography challenges, including cold-water destinations such as British Columbia and even Antarctica in January 2018.  

“Of course, I love shooting in tropical locations but I think cold water diving is a great forcing function to hone one’s photography skills as the environment and equipment are much more demanding of a diver.  Good image capture in cold water is particularly rewarding.” Mark tells us. 

Mark has been shooting underwater since the early 1980s and has worked in both film and digital mediums in his photojournalism pursuits.  In 35 years of diving, Mark has logged over 2000 hours, much of it doing underwater photography.  Currently, he teaches underwater photography classes locally at Seminole Scuba in Lake Mary, Florida. More about Mark here.

 

ERIK LUKAS

Erik Lukas is an active diver and photographer based in Los Angeles, CA. He is a volunteer scuba diver at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA. You can expect to find Erik diving many of the amazing Pacific Ocean sites of Southern California, camera in hand, at any chance he can get.

See more of Erik’s photography at www.seeundersea.com or on Instagram @seeundersea. 

"I am passionate about underwater photography in general and have a special love for macro subjects. For me the things that are hardest to spot hold the most interest. Documenting the commensal and symbiotic relationships is for me the most interesting…the smaller and more bizarre the better. I also have a passion for sharing my knowledge with others. My goal with all of my workshops is to ensure each guest leaves with a group of images that they are proud to share." Read more about Erik here.

 

PAUL VUKOVICH

Paul Vukovich is an English born photographer currently living between Mexico and the US.  

He has an infectious enthusiasm for the oceans and his desire to share and develop in others a deep passion for marine conservation drives his underwater photography and videography.

Paul is an experienced scuba and freediver, at ease diving beneath the waves to explore and capture striking imagery of its charismatic inhabitants.

In doing this he provides a glimpse through his lens to help others experience the beauty and wonder of the underwater world, still alien to many. With captivating scenes and thought provoking captions, Paul’s images evoke an emotional connection, encouraging viewers to engage, connect and respond to his images - developing themselves a greater curiosity and a deeper appreciation of the ocean and it’s inhabitants.

Paul is incurably curious with an infectious drive and positivity. He is always on the lookout for adventure and opportunity, building collaborations to further develop and share his skills and passions with those around him. Read more about Paul here.

 

Payment Schedule  

Deposit: $800

Payment 2: $1000, Due 2/1/24

Payment 3: Balance, Due 6/1/24

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TRIP EXTENSIONS

French Polynesia is one of the world's top dive destinations, and definitely one of the best locations for shark diving. Boasting at least 16 species of shark, the shark population is very high - estimated to range into the millions - which means divers have the potential to see hundreds of sharks in the clear French Polynesian waters.  The islands around French Polynesia provide adventure for both the most and least experienced scuba divers. Even snorkelers and sightseers can experience extraordinary wildlife, offering a special trip for everyone.

Make the most of your time in French Polynesia and extend your trip to discover this fantastic diving for yourself. We recommend visiting the islands of Fakarava or Rangiroa for the ultimate shark experience. You can read more about diving in each of these destinations in our French Polynesia Trip Report.

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Got Questions? Ready to Book?

Call us today at +1-310-915-6677 email us at trips@bluewaterdivetravel.com

Or stop by our office at 3961 Sepulveda Blvd, Suite 206 Culver City, CA 90230 

And let us book your dream vacation!

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Photo Gallery 

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Moorea Humpback Whale Photos Taken by Mark Strickland


Moorea Trip Report 2019
 Moorea Trip Report 2019


Moorea Humpback Whale Photos Taken by Scott Gietler

Humpback Whale in Moorea Humpback whale in Moorea

 

Moorea Humpback Whale Photos Taken by Eric Lukas


Humpback whale in Moorea
 Moorea Trip Report 2022

 

Moorea Humpback Whale Photos Taken by Bryan Chu

Humpback whale in Moorea Humpback whale in Moorea

 

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