Tonga - Swimming with Whales - Photos

Mike and Liz Downing
Wed 15 Dec 2010 08:49
It's taken a little while to process the pictures. We used a standard digital camera in an underwater housing. It's good for taking close up pictures underwater with lots of light, but if there is any distance from the camera to the subject, it loses the colour and it all comes out blue. The problem with taking pictures of whales is that being just a little on the big side, you have to keep your distance to get enough of it in to be recognizable. Also, being just a little on the big side, you don't want to get so close that you can't get out of it's way! So the pictures are all a little blue. Luckily with our masks on we could see the true colours. The whales are Humpback - mother and calf.
Eye to eye with mum!
The calf twisting and turning - it seemed keen on aquabatics, showing off what it could do.
Mum and calf surfacing together.
Breathing out before reaching the surface - the white marks in the middle are air bubbles.
The calf's tail
Mum's tail
Mum resting on the bottom while the calf plays above her.
Top right - the fins of one of the 2 other swimmers allowed in the water, Liz and I being the other two
(there being a maximum of 4 at any one time).
Mum comes to the surface