Tonga 2019

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I thought I had shared these photos here, but I guess I forgot.

In August, Jenn and I went to Tonga to swim with humpback whales. It's a trip I'd been planning for some time, but then was forced to reschedule from October because of the WPY stuff. The trip was a lot of fun, though going earlier probably affected our visibility quite a bit. It was very challenging to come up with decent pictures because of the amount of particles (mainly blooming algae) in the water... plus, the whales move really fast and I'm not a great underwater photographer!

I posted a small gallery of pictures on my website. A short preview is below.

One of our early encounters, which does a pretty good job showing how close a whale can swim to you. This fin was inches away from my camera. You can also see how much algae was in the water at times.

Our best encounters were on Day 1...

...which also happened to be our only day swimming with moms and calves.

In addition to humpbacks, we were fortunate to swim with two species of dolphins, a sailfish, a silky shark, and a pod of false killer whales (shown here).

Converting images to black and white actually helps quite a bit with getting rid of some of the particles and noise. And it can often enhance the dramatic tones of an image.

On one of our late swims, we were swimming above a pair of whales that were apparently sleeping on the bottom, when one suddenly gave two quick flicks of its tail and zoomed toward the surface. I had envisioned this moment prior to the trip, so I followed it up and thrust the camera out of the water as it breached. Despite a partially-fogged dome, this shot actually came out!

View the full Tonga 2019 gallery here.

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