Swimming With Giants – Most INCREDIBLE Experience!
There are certain experiences in life so enchanting, we know they will stick with us forever. Swimming with humpback whales in French Polynesia is one of them.
Admittedly, we have had more than our fair share of awe-inspiring adventures. But this is something different all together.
We set out to sea in search of giants. A mission like all others, fueled by curiosity and a selfish need to experience something wild. But when we came eye to eye with the creature, it was something far more soul piercing than we had prepared for.
This is our most incredible wild life experience to date. Guaranteed, we didn’t even come close to capturing just how magical it all is. But even with our amateur underwater skills, we hope it brings a smile to your face and a sense of peace in your heart.
I honestly can’t remember what my expectations were going into all of this, but I certainly didn’t expect it to be so spiritual…or all consuming. I had half a mind to follow those whales to Antarctica!
So, while I could go full guru on you…I will keep it brief (because I am no guru).
It’s true what they say, eyes are the window to the soul. Of all the creatures I have been fortunate enough to encounter, never have I been more enchanted than when I looked into the eye of a baby whale.
In those moments I felt I had one foot in this world and another somewhere else. It’s like they could size me up and discern my character, my soul and my worth in one glance. So, you can imagine, when they decided not to flip tail and run…the sense of approval was euphoric.
They were truly gentle giants who have captured my heart, deepened my respect and furthered my admiration for the world that is underwater.
Swimming with Whales in French Polynesia
Swimming with whales isn’t new. We’ve seen videos and photos of people taking tours in Tonga, Australia and of course, French Polynesia.
We had moved the cash from our cruising kitty to the wallet and were ready to book our tour. But, then we learned we could go swimming with whales on our own, no guide needed! We quickly put our money back in the kitty.
We’re not big on schedules, itineraries or organized tours. Self-guided, self-paced, foot loose and fancy free to roam is our style. It’s a huge part of why we travel with our home. #slowtravel
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes a tour is the best or only way to see or do something. But, if we can go on our own, most likely we will.
So, we started digging into the where, what, when and how.
The laws and regulations have changed in French Polynesia even since we have been here. That is partly due to all the research being done by the Mata Tohora. They are studying the whales every year along with the effects of tourism to ensure the whales are respected and protected.
If you plan on swimming with the whales in French Polynesia, make sure to check their website for the latest information.
If you plan on swimming with the whales anywhere else in the world, make sure you check both local laws and regulations as they vary greatly.
Should you choose to go with a tour (plenty of good ones out there), make sure to ask lots of questions to verify they are a reputable operator who cares for the well-being and protection of the whales. The Mata Tohora website above is a good place to learn about respectful behavior towards whales.
Sharing this wild lifestyle and what we learn along the way is possible because of viewers like you. If you like what you see, there are lots of FREE ways you can show your support. Thank you for being a part of our journey.
RESOURCES & GEAR IN THIS VIDEO
INTERNET ON A SAILBOAT
- Sony rx10: https://amzn.to/2QAHxwx
- Underwater Housing & Sony rx100: gonewiththewynns.com/product/productsony-dsc-rx100m-iii-cyber-shot-digital-still-camera
- Go Pro: https://amzn.to/2ALaz3d
- Sony Action Cam: gonewiththewynns.com/product/sony-as300
- Drone: https://amzn.to/2VQ2pzi
Freediving / Snorkeling Gear
- Freedive Mask With Camera Mount http://amzn.to/2d5C6SB
- Freedive Snorkel: http://amzn.to/2cjh3dV
- Freediving Fins: http://amzn.to/2kIYmlf
- Atomic Mask: http://amzn.to/2uuqsZf
- Freediving Snorkel: http://amzn.to/2uxCjEb
- Freediving Fins: http://amzn.to/2kIhljK
Music for vids
- Source: http://bit.ly/artlist-gwtw
- Artists Used In This Video: Giants and Pilgrims / Ian Post / Salt of the Sound / Ian Locke / Katrina Stone
To see our full map with interactive pins, click here: gonewiththewynns.com/map
- Dates: October 10 – November 6, 2018
- Nautical Miles Sailed: 14 Tahiti to Moorea
Hey you two, and the fur beasts. Just started watching your videos and must say that yall look like youre having the time of your lives. I am in Dallas Texas, but originally from Miami and have experience working on power yachts. I will say this, from a Chef standpoint, your cooking is really good and I look forward to seeing what yall make when out at sea as apposed to what you make when anchored. I see in your videos and on this site that you list a lot of the gear that you have on board, you should make a list of the dry goods that y9ou have as well so people can give assistance with cooking ideas. Simple things help a lot. Like for example, you made Hummus but did not have Tahina. You can use Peanut Butter instead, which adds that little subtle hint of. flavor without making it taste too much of peanuts. The Garlic in Hummus kills a lot of the other flavors as does the acid that you add. You made Pesto Pasta the same day as the Hummus, you can add a few of those dried mushrooms to the pasta water and them will import a ton of flavor into the pasta. For things that you would use cream for, believe it or not, dried coffee creamer makes great cream substitute. Just make sure that the one you buy isnt vanilla or some other flavor. If you were to add sugar and egg yolks to the creamer and water, you could cook it into a makeshift ice cream base, then all you have to do is freeze it. There are lots of other tips that make for some interesting meal helpers as well as on the spot cooking ideas, just have to know what you are working with. Hope all is well, as of Today (Monday 9-16-2019) Dallas is still Hot and looking forward to fall. Cheers – Joshua
Merci pour toute ses publications. Merci également pour tout les conseils que vous donner, c’est très apprécié.
Absolutely spectacular! I cried. What an amazing experience. Thank you for sharing! <3
WOW! Just Wow…
hey Jason, there is an app called “wifi master key” Global free wifi. Download when you get a chance and increase your chance of getting free wifi in more locations. don’t think it works in open sea, but you never know, why not try it and let me know.
ps. love the swimming with whales vid, Awesome, is an understatement.
Thanks for the tip! We will check it out!
Such a great blog…I have been binge watching for about a month and haven’t even done much of the moter-home stuff…Wonderful.
Woohooooooo! Awe inspiring! Thank you so much for bringing that experience to us. I love being in the ocean, but that is the ultimate experience, for sure. Being with these giant creatures shows us the pace that life is meant to be. The Creator is sure great!!!!
I have enjoyed expiring your journey for about five years now and have truly enjoyed it all but this is the most amazing. You are truly fortunate to live the life you’re living. Well done.
Oh, Nikki! Oh, Jason! Oh, my!!
Absolutely stunning! Thank you for taking us along on all your adventures.
Kory and Denise Bumby
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Sharing your experiences in such a beautiful and responsible way allows us to feel free to watch along and experience it too. We don’t just see what you show us, you help us to feel the experience with you. You are awesome at what you do!
I will have you know I am not fond of being in ocean water however, watching you both, your fantastic voyages (good and bad) and beautiful videos makes me want to jump in the ocean. Love your life!!!
Curious, gentle and majestic marine mammals, meeting the Curiosity Crew and vice-versa. A truly magical encounter in the water for all creatures great and small. So amazing – thank you for the video. Can’t wait to see you both diving and snorkelling with the manta rays.
Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful experience. Such an adrenaline rush. Nothing surpasses a close up encounter with the world of nature. A humbling experience, eh? May your life forever explore, inspire and be appreciated. Pure joy.
So this why we all need to protect these Beautiful creatures..support Sea Shepard!! And do not spend a penny on anything from Japan until they agree to quit killing 300-400 Humpbacks every year.
Is nothing sacred? Leave the whales in peace. If possible,put your efforts and finances into saving sea life and cleaning our oceans.
Unless you saw a different video, the whales were at peace. Nikki and Jason were very still in the water and obeyed all laws. No harm.
The beauty of this video is that the whales *chose* to approach and lingered being with humans. Nikki’s wonderful words best approximate the experience of seeing “to the soul” of the other creature. (If you have not experienced it, I can understand how it would seem like something much cheaper.) I have felt similarly snorkeling with Pacific Whitesided Dolphins in Desolation Sound (between B.C. and Vancouver Island). The creatures must have felt sort for my “pathetic” swimming ability—one dolphin in particular seemed intent on me improving my technique so they demonstrated and waited for me to copy for upwards of an hour!
I was overwhelmed with your experience. What a true gift of trust those whales gave you! You have truly been blessed.
Jason and Nikki, your courage and craftsmanship in swimming with and filming these gentle giants has touched all of us so deeply. How sad that these creatures are still hunted and slaughtered today. But our American and English ancestors 150 years ago also hunted whales for economic reasons. Is there a way we can make the whales more valuable alive than dead? Thank you Jason and Nikki for reminding us of the immense wisdom, love and intelligence of our cetacean cousins. Perhaps somehow we can save them and ourselves through making more of these wonderful inter-species encounters accessible to people from all nations. Maybe invite a Japanese, Icelandic or Norwegian whale-loving crew mate to take your next dive with the whales?
Jason, how gratifying it must have been for the whale to flash her flukes right behind the Moorea sunset in time for you to take a classic, magnificent shot. Keep up this important and inspiring work.
Fair winds and safe travels!
WOW! Big freaking wow! So Jason and Nikki, how close were you on those closeups? Close enough to touch?
This is wonderful. The Geeks approve! Some of my earliest underwater movies were of humpback whales off South Jersey. Super8, baby! Your videos are superb and each new one seems better than the last. We saw a Leopard like yours in NZ last month and thought of you. Love you both.
Absolutely fantastic! Thank you! Be well guys.
You out did yourselves! Awesome footage and an incredible experience. Thanks for sharing. We all appreciate y’all so much.
Alan L Solomon
Great video. I don’t have the words from my perspective. I can’t imagine how you two are explaining it. They are very gentle and they seem to want to experience you as much as you do them.
I especially liked Jason’s comment when he said to Singa “wish you could go with us buddy”. The love Jason has for Singa, Jason wanted Singa to experience the same as he did. I like that. Thanks much.
Thrilled to be following your journey. My husband and I are starting Our own journey in a Tiny home starting in Northern California and now are in AZ heading to NM, TX, CO then back to Northern CA.
We are just getting our video gear, website and YouTube channel together and it’s great to see all your resources thank you so much for all the editing you do
This was such an amazing episode…the whales coming face to face was great. My 10 year old daughter said, “This isn’t YouTube, this is an ad for sail boats. Let’s go get one!” 🙂 Love your work…keep it up!
I’m in awe! Was nearly in tears. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful video. It touched my heart and soul. 🙂
AWESOME, THANK YOU.
How do you carry on with a normal life after that experience? How can you top that experience? Excellent video work and spot on comments. It was emotional just watching on the tv screen. Those humpbacks wanted to be near you. They could have left at any time but shared an experience with you. Thank you for putting this video out.
Wow! Nose to nose with a Humpback Whale. Every trip to Maui, in late winter, we go out with the Pacific Whale Foundation boat and they also drop a hydrophone into the water so we are able to hear the whales communicate. Very educational experience, however, we’re on the boat.
Dennis E Cowley
Amazing…you’ll never forget that for the rest of your lives. Good for you.
I wish I could give multiple thumbs up on this one! I had tears in my eyes watching this beautiful experience you had unfold before my eyes! Thank you so much for sharing. Our world is a beautiful place with such beautiful and awesome creatures!
My favorite video yet! Thank you for taking such great videos and pictures and commentary. You’re the best!
Hi Nikki & Jason;
I have been a fan & followed your travels since I met you here in Toronto
When you were still travelling with your RV (you parked it next door to us),
in Toronto Canada. Since then you have become world class sailors circumnavigating the Globe! Good on you two! Keep sailing on! My friend
Mike Shafer (Chicago), sailed around the world twice back in the 1990 s,
he had shocking photos of plastic floating in whirlpools back then. Do you
See more of that today? Bruce Campbell [email protected]
Jason was pretty quick with the “nope” to sailing to Antartica. Seems like Nikki has a new challenge to turn that around. Selling points will include fewer allergies and sinus problems.
How many times can I say ‘OMG’ !!!! I loved this. The best video you guys have ever done and I’ve seen every one. Must have been a close to God experience.
What an experience! Such beauty and tranquility. A big thank you for sharing your fabulous encounters with the gentle giants. As an RVer spending as much time as possible in the wide open space is truly humbling and inspirational. If only more could learn from these experiences. Thank you again for all of your videos.
Amazing video! I had the opportunity to swim with dolphins in Hawaii in their natural environment and it felt much like this. The feeling of being in their presence is so powerful. Wow, wow, wow! You are amazing and I am living vicariously through you.
Best post EVER!!! <3 Thanks for the experience!
Silver Bank Whales
An obstreperous wavelet spoofs the seriously questing eyes.
Nor fin, nor fluke. Nor ripple speaks. No fin-flattened lily pad of quieted
Des’late horizon surrounds. Infinity belying intelligences cruising
close below, slipping through deep canyons in their blue and very private sea.
Intelligences slide below.
A flash of hard, electric blue. A dark’ning presence slips abeam.
Surfaceward, a lunge of breath. The vapor spins off dizzy by the wind.
A coal black boilerplate engine rises from a swell.
And slips most instantly below.
A thought: What is this humming, thrumming noise?
Who are these weakling, fin-flipped, dayglo orange fish?
Chartreuse and purple. Fluorescent pink and neon green.
With such noise, they can’t mean harm.
Below, the sleeping giants wait.
A newborn hangs in mother’s graceful white-arched reach.
What know they of the angst above?
The famine, fire, sorrow, pain?
They cruise indominate. Serenity perpetual
in speckled chasms of angled sun-dark silence.
And of these fin-flipped fragile hatchlings
floating at edge of air, shivering at edge of cold?
How dare they enter birthing space or witness secret ritual?
How presume to even ask? Questions from aliens galaxies apart.
Yet, what seek these pale, wraith-like creatures from a sky, a world above?
Perchance a glancing eye? An evanescent, momentary brushing contact?
A contact. A recognition of….what?
An outstretched touch of friendly fingers on black smoothness?
A fledgeling hope to say,
“We’re glad you’re here? To share a basic breath of air?”
A friendship hand.
A hope for … connection?
“We come in peace.
And to hear a sacred song.”
The contact breaks. Only deep, cold water remains.
And distant calling out of depths unknown.
Welcome to download this pdf from aDrive: https://www.adrive.com/public/sQNBfh/TRYPTICH%20SILVER%20BANK%20WHALES.pdf
Also, the accompanying video is now on YT: https://youtu.be/fW8lYsP7zt0
and can also download from aDrive: https://www.adrive.com/public/yKBFzX/Silver%20Bank%20Whales.mp4 (389 Meg)
Nikki & Jason,
I am so happy for you to have met whales close-up – what a lifetime experience meeting such magnificent animals. Thanks for sharing with us.
Now I have something to share with you. Please make the effort to read the following story;
Trump Admin OKs Underwater Seismic Blasts That Could Severely Hurt Marine Life
New authorizations may open up East Coast waters to harmful exploration for oil and gas.
By Hilary Hanson
12/01/2018 05:07 pm ET
The Trump administration announced Friday that it approved requests from five companies to survey for oil and gas under the floor of the Atlantic Ocean using a process some scientists have warned is disastrous for marine life.
Seismic testing involves sending extremely loud bursts of air though the water to produce shock waves. Conservationists say the loud air blasts, which occur every 10 to 12 seconds and can go on for weeks to months, are majorly disruptive to animals like sea turtles, dolphins and the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale.
Marine scientist Matthew Huelsenbeck of environmental group Oceana previously compared the effect to “dynamite going off in your living room or in your backyard every ten seconds for days to weeks at a time.”
Nikki & Jason, you have about 14 months to register to vote in America, and to obtain absentee ballots. It is your responsibilty to decide which political party and candidate will best protect everything in your environment, both above and below the water line – then vote.
Please, I beg you on behalf of your sea friends, vote to save their environment and preserve your lifestyle. It is your future as well as their future. And it really matters who is in power in Washington, D.C.
Thanks for listening to my rant.
Per your second comment, this one was never deleted. It was being held in pending as is the norm for posts that contain links.
Thanks for your reply.
FYI, I checked this page before I wrote my reply on your twitter account.
Since you are not in the States and likley don’t read up on the news reported from legitimate sites (and who can blame you considering where you live), my aim was to inform you that those in power in Washington, D.C. are a threat to your business, lifestyle, seas and oceans, and sea life. I am asking you to be certain to learn the issues and to vote in November 2020 as you deem best for where you live. Your vote counts!
Don t have enough thumbs up for this post/video. Grateful thanks for sharing.
What a video , your best yet . You will treasure this one for years to come and every time you want to revisit the feeling you can. I don’t think that any video will have brought you such feelings of peace and tranquility as this one has, and how many people get to do what u two just did….Not Many!!! Again thank you two so much for letting us come along on your ports of call and any excursion that you two make, it felt that we were there as well . Happy Sailing and stay safe……..
What a great video! Grandma, Grandpa and I were all wishing we were with you. They want to see the baby. I want to see it all. My eyes were filled with tears of joy knowing what an incredible adventure you had. Love you!
Grandma says they love that you are sharing your memories with all of us. xxoo
One of the best shows yet. Make it all worth it sailing.
Beautiful captures. You were very fortunate. Am glad you put in all the safe beings about being around these creatures. They won’t be around if people don’t respect them. And yes, probably my favorite video of yours so far. :):)
This video is exactly why we’re Patreons! You got extraordinary footage and combined it with the perfect music to be a soul touching experience for the viewer. Nikki your comments were so poignant and heart felt and I could feel it with you. Thanks!
Best video yet! How countries (Japan, Norway, Iceland, et al) can still support the whaling industry is beyond me. Very messed up.
Of all the images and videos of all these years,
THIS ONE POST
Sent the most shivers down my spine.
This one brought tears to my eyes.
So grateful for these images – thanks for your generosity in sharing them.
Best. Video. EVER. It will be hard to beat this one. Great production qualities. Great music. Guys, this was awesome! Jason – GREAT editing.
What a whale of a tranquil morning to watch your video on Sunday morning. Niki, & Jason this video is the way to start the day and the rest of the week. I wish you both glorious sea-bound adventures and safe travels.
Hi, bike rider Jeff from Kent WA. Fantastic experience with the whales to put it lightly. Kelli (my wife) and I went to Mexico to meet our friends Mark and Brandy who were sailing around world. Our first day out in the ocean a humpback whale jumped up right next to us. My goal was to jump in and get a picture of them and experience them but we couldn’t get close enough. So cool though.
Thanks for a amazing video but you ruined our Sunday YouTube video watching session. Since no one else will be able to compete with your amazing whale video, we’re going to have to find something else to do today.
You should hear what momma and baby whale are saying about you! :¬)
Absolutely SPECTACULAR!! Thanks for the awesome experience and sharing it with us all. You guys are incredible! Great way to start a Sunday!! Aaahhhh – perfect and priceless!! 💝 Thank you!! 💗👍🐳🌊
Wow!! I have been waiting “patiently” for this episode -you gave a 2019 season preview awhile back. Swimming with whales has been on my list for years.
I have been watching your videos for some time now -and have rewatched and rewatched many of them. Thank you so much for the work you do to put these videos out. I also really enjoy your technical videos as I am completing my ASA certifications this summer, the BVI this winter, and a sailboat of our own in a couple of years. I will send a token of my appreciation on your other page.
Holy Whale! THAT was a most incredible video…ever! I appreciate the time you put into researching the whales and playing by the underwater rules. The video you shot was extraordinary, what a thrill to be along with you on this journey. Keep up the stellar videos, all the best!
Amazing and inspiring video and article you guys. Thank you so much for sharing. ❤️❤️❤️
Holy crap. That was the most exhilarating 23 minutes of video of seen in my life. I’m so grateful you were able to experience it, and I’m also grateful technology has made it practical for somewhat average folks to capture it. You’ve got 8 years of awesome content under your belt, but this was a completely different level. Pure magic. Jaque Cousteau would now be proud of you guys, just like the rest of us.
Top 3 Wynn videos of all time?
1) Whale – In Yo Face (today)
2) Live Action Call of Duty Silly String War in Peru
3) Land Ho (after 25 days at sea) I hadn’t felt that level of relief since Tom Hanks got pulled out of the water in Cast Away.
Love the JD Hat. We are from Moline home of JD. Really made my day with the whale footage.
THAT was outstanding guys! So happy for you. So happy people are mindful of keeping distance, etc. Rowan (daughter) actually did a “SQUEEE!” when you teased the upcoming manta ray encounters. Fingers crossed. Stay safe!
BEST.VIDEO.EVER!!! I actually cried as I watched this. Yhank you thank you thank you for giving ME this experience. I’ll never swim w whales, I’ve been on a whale watching boat with them, but they didn’t come to the back of the boat where I was puking my guts up. The Wynn’s videos are on my Sunday morning ritual. With my coffee and my iPad I see the world thru your eyes. I’m ever so grateful ❤️ For you showing this Stephenville Texas girl, who has traveled extensively, things I’ve dreamed of.