Day 1 The mother allowed us to swim with her and her calf for much of the day. We swam with them as long as we could keep up, then we would get back in the boat, catch up to them and slip back in. At first the mother was very relaxed but the baby was a little shy. As the day Progressed the baby gradually came out of his or her shell until they were jumping, Tail slapping, breaching, twisting and swishing without stopping. you could see the joy in every movement. Exhilaration in motion. It was stunning to see. The mother was calm and relaxed. She even slowed down allowing us to swim a little longer with each pass. On this swim the baby kept their mouth open underwater. It’s not only a privilege to be in the water with the whales and to interact with them in ways that they allow but to see interactions between individuals, between a mother and her calf and the different ways the whales are underwater. How they move, How they play, how they rest. Never did I think i would ever experience such intimacy with humpback whales. I am in complete awe.
At other times, it was clear if a mother was uncomfortable with swimmers. If it was obvious from the surface (trying to get away from the boat making it impossible to get in a good position for swimming) we wouldn’t go in. If it wasn’t obvious until we were in the water, we would end the swim and leave them alone. It’s important that these animals are treated with respect. I was amazed at how I was able to understand these basic signals from the animals even without very much experience. I think if we treat animals with respect and see them as the highly intelligent creatures that they are, it is apparent to us when they are under stress or relaxed. As human beings we are very capable of understanding the world on an energetic level, though this is a fact not always acknowledged in our culture/s.