Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A few Extraordinary Days in the Life...

We're slowly getting ready for our sailing trip to come to an end. The adventure of provisioning, finding boat parts and doing boat maintenance in exotic lands is losing its appeal. We're not as excited by beautiful anchorages as we should be and easily annoyed when an unexpected boat project pops up, such as a jellyfish getting stuck in the salt water strainer while doing dishes :( ! We dream about owning a house  and working towards new goals. I'm sure part of me will often long for this lifestyle when we're back in the "real work" of careers, deadlines and rushing around… but right now we're just ready for a change.

In order to mix things up a bit, we have treated ourselves to some excursions. These excursions often involve spending a good chunk of time off of the boat and allowing ourselves more treats….from ice cream cones and bike rentals to swimming with humpback whales. As a result, we've had a few very non-typical (and wonderful!) days in Tonga. 
The King of Tonga, Tupou VI, surveys the agricultural show.
Port Maurelle (#7) as seen from a beach pig roast.
Our Biking Day:  After discussing with Sandy from Vava'u Adventures which bike route would be best for our bike rental excursion, we opted for the less hilly route. Man are we glad we did, since the less hilly route was very challenging, on our single speed "California Cruiser" bicycles. We saw lots of Mama pigs and really cute piglets, cows, horses, gigantic spiders, small villages, friendly Tongans and a guy cutting his toenails with a machete. 

We stopped at a beach for lunch where we were mobbed by a group of very cute and talkative Tongan children. "What are your parent's names? Where are you parents right now?" they asked. Luckily we had a few granola bars and Canadian pins to give them as treats, which they loved. They also really enjoyed pieces of our peanut butter and jam sandwiches. We ended the day exhausted and happy to have spent so much time exploring the island on land!

Our Whale Day: A few days later we really splurged and booked a whale watching excursion with the aim of swimming with humpback whales. This day turned into one of the most memorable ones of our trip! The first three times we got in the water was with an adolescent male, who was completely still and positioned with his tail towards the sky and eyes towards the depths. He was singing a song so strong that it caused my whole body to vibrate and so beautiful that I instinctively wanted to follow him to hear more when he was done. Our guide informed us that he sings in hopes of attracting a female, waiting with his eyes towards the deep blue water hoping one will like his song as much as we do and pay him a visit. As the whale moved on I started to pursue when I was suddenly brought back to Earth by our guide's voice,  "Don't chase the whale. Save your energy. You'll swim with more". I could hardly believe that there was more to come. 

Our guides from Beluga Diving worked ferociously from 7 am to 5 pm looking for any signs of whales. We had a bit of a lull for a few hours in the early afternoon, but thanks to a tip from another boat, we were spoiled enough to swim with two Pacific Sun Fish during that time. It was definitely by far the weirdest and largest looking fish I've ever seen. It's quite a rare occurrence to swim with these fish and it was the first time our guides had ever seen them…..talk about a lucky day. 

By 3 pm, we assumed we were on our way back to town, since the tour was supposed to end around this time, but much to our surprise we were informed we were on our way to swim with a baby calf and it's mother. The baby was so excited, active and playful ….doing flips and twirls in front of our eyes. It was hard to know if you should look above or below the water, since the calf was often spouting and slapping its fins on the surface. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the baby do a little dive and then swim quickly to the surface. I wondered if it was going to breach. Moments later it leapt out of the water and splashed down about 30ft in front of me. Amazing! It was so cute to see the calf snuggle with it's Mom and I was astonished by her enormous size. 
Photo courtesy of Beluga Diving
I feel so privileged and lucky to have experienced the beauty of swimming with humpback whales. Extraordinary days like these make it a lot easier to keep on trucking towards Australia, even when our minds are often dreaming of our future land life in Canada. 

Note: The only negative part of our day is that our underwater camera died…We hope to get a few pictures from other people in our group. Until then, if you're interested, check out our friend Hydroquest's blog for amazing pictures from their excursion, or Beluga Diving's gallery. The pictures below are from Tonga, but unrelated to the events described.

The entrance to Swallow's Cave
Anne-Marie swimming into Mariners Cave
Beautiful coral of Ava Island 
Funny looking "dog faced" fish

1 comment:

  1. Love your honesty and know that all the
    knowledge big and small you accumulated
    on your courageous and amazing voyage will
    be a big "propellor" to reach your new goals.
    Very proud to be your MAMA & MUTTI !

    ReplyDelete