Swimming Among the Giants

 And when the last Whale disappears from the Ocean; when their last song fades, I know the World will seem like a much smaller place.

There is a chaos in the ocean; but there is also a silence, a silence that drowns out every real world problem, pain and sadness and replaces it with the sound of pure infinity and peace.

It’s hard to get a true scale of the Ocean. We only ever see it from the shore, or from one tiny speck on a map, or from our favourite dive spot, or from a window of an airplane; high, high above it. Even the explorers of our World; millenniums ago, only ever saw the Ocean from a simple line of contact – a connecting of the dots, a zodiac drawn out of a constellation light years away. The problem is, even those voyageurs were only literally scratching the surface. Unlike the earth we walk upon, the ground that gravity sticks us to; the Ocean is a three dimensional space, the depths of which are still widely unknown. I have spent my life with the Ocean, but still I cannot comprehend her expansiveness. It’s one thing to say the Ocean is huge and vast, but do you truly understand what that means?

Sometimes when I am sitting on the bow of a boat, with nothing but open Ocean surrounding me from every direction, I get a glimpse of her vastness. Sometimes when I am at Osprey Reef in 30 meters of water, diving along a wall of reef that rises out of the abyss from depths of around 2000 meters; i get a flicker of understanding into the expanse of the Ocean, that disappears as suddenly as it arrives. Last week I had another glance through the looking glass in an unexpected way. Looking into the eyes of a Whale, and having them stare straight back at you – now that is a sure fire way to make your World seem big. It’s so overwhelming to see something that big, so close to you – you never get used to it. The way they move is another thing, if you don’t watch carefully you’ll miss it, the smallest of movements and they move so quickly, but so graceful all the same. If you’ve ever swam with Minke Whales, you’ll know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, do it immediately.

It’s surreal, honestly… Someone will shout whale, so you’ll get into the water with anticipation, holding onto the line and staring into the blue. You’ll wait a bit longer and longer still, you’ll begin to wonder if they had lied to you. You’ll look around rapidly, there are these tiny particles everywhere in the water… it’s the only thing you see. Is this just a trick to get tourists spending money? Or maybe it’s just you – maybe you’re the unlucky one that won’t see any whales the whole trip. Your eyes start playing tricks on you, a shadow in the distance, only your imagination. You’ll strain your ears, all the while the only thing you hear is the breaking of the waves over your head. Just as you start to give up hope, you’ll turn your head ever so slightly. Suddenly your entire vision is filled, what seems like an arms reach away from you is the largest living thing you’ve ever seen. Your breath will catch in your throat and you will feel things you’ve never felt before, i guarantee it.

They come out of nowhere, all of a sudden they will be with you. You’d think you’d see them coming – they are so big and you have such a clear view all around you; but they will surprise you every time. Think one whale is overwhelming? try at least twelve whales all around you in the water at one time. You honestly don’t know where to look, they fill your vision from every direction; and they get close – really close. I was lucky enough to be on scuba with this exact scenario last week, but it didn’t stop there. They were with us every day, all day for 5 days straight. They played with us on the snorkel line and we saw them from the surface. We saw spy hopping, bubble blasts, belly presentations, I saw one open it’s mouth underwater and we even saw a couple of full body breaches from the surface. They were making so much sound as well, with a very unusual mechanical song, like nothing I’ve ever heard.

They are all distinct. Some are more curious than others; some are huge, others are tiny and they all have distinctive markings and scars. You’ll know when they are looking right at you. They will cruise over and as they get close they’ll slow right down, hovering in the water with the most perfect buoyancy and gracefulness; their huge eye moving around, curiously looking you up and down. They must wonder what we are… they must be as curious about us as we are of them, because we never went to the whales, the whales always came to us. I have had many moments throughout my time with these Whales that I’ll keep with me forever, I have been humbled and I know I have had another best day of my life in the best life I can imagine.

They call them Dwarf Minke Whales, a small whale. They could never be small to us – we are the small ones, and we are at the mercy of the giants, of a World that is bigger than we can comprehend.

The Minke Whales of the GBR

Minke Whale Season 2017!Check out my latest blog on the site for more:http://islandjems.com/2017/07/06/swimming-among-the-giants/

Posted by Islandjems Imagery on Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Throughout this entry are some photos I took during our latest week of filming, or visit the photos page of my website (Minke Whale Season 2017). Soon we will head to our next destination, I can’t wait… Very soon I will have an opportunity to share more about this exciting project we’re working on, so please stay tuned and stay inspired!

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