There are really no words to describe what it’s like to be in the water with a 40 tonne whale. Nervous, excited, thrilled, and alive are words that come close, but somehow they just don’t do the situation justice. The last time I swam with a whale she was so serene, magical, and completely in tune with me and our surroundings. She made me calm. She looked right in my eyes and she felt my energy. She sank below me and submissively and playfully turned over, revealing her belly, as if to say, “Scratch here, please.” I think that was the moment I fell in love with Lucy.
Off the rugged Atlantic coast of Newfoundland, you will discover one of the few places in the world that you can put on your wet suit and actually swim with the whales in their natural environment. Offshore Newfoundland, each summer from June until August, there’s a precise window of time when the Humpback and Minke whales come up to feed. It’s a super happy time for the whales – food is abundant, the weather and water are perfect, and they are showing their babies the ways of the world.
Professional Adventure whale tour guide John Olivero, with Ocean Quest Adventures, takes people on this magnificent adventure each summer. In a small vessel, you go out to sea and slip off the side of the boat into the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, it’s pretty cold at first. However, with a wet suit on you adjust quickly and before you know it, you’re bobbing around in the waves looking for whales.
We don’t follow the whales, but rather the whales come to play with us. It’s quite amazing how it happens. Before you know it, out of curiosity and fun, you start to see a brighter shade of blue approach you. Then you see white, and the form starts to come in, and before you know it you are right beside a mammoth whale with nothing but your snorkel and fins on!
It is incredible. It is the adventure of a lifetime, and it is a bucket list extravaganza. People who take this tour never forget it. While some may think it dangerous, my experience has been that the whales are peaceful and placid, playful and curious. They enjoy us as much as we enjoy them. Some may be too afraid to take this adventure, but I assure you that facing your fears is well worth it!
When you come to the surface she may follow you. She may imitate you, and she may slap her fin on the water’s surface as you slap your arm on the surface. She will find ways to talk to you and to be with you. She may even read your mind.
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