Moments of Bliss

Moments of Bliss

The Eye of the Whale
By Gunter Hofmann

I was on a whale watching boat out of Neiafu, the capital of Tonga’s Vava’u Group of islands. Our guide spotted a mother humpback whale with her calf, and she ordered the boat to approach them slowly. Then at the spot where we had last seen them, four of us on the tour, along with our guide, took to the water with our snorkeling gear. My face down, I did not see anything right away. Suddenly, I saw something right below me—big and white. Then I realized that what I was seeing was the mother on her back, letting the calf drink her milk. In the next moment, the calf began to surface very close to me, just a few arm lengths away. It came up and looked at me with a large black eye as large as a dinner plate. I was mesmerized. It was truly a moment of bliss.

I felt intimately connected to this animal, in a very friendly way. I had a very strong urge to touch it (against the rules of engagement in the whale watchers guide). So I swam a few feet towards it and reached out with my arm. That was too close for comfort for the calf. It rolled on its back and paddled away from me with a few powerful strokes of its large flippers. In doing this, one of the calf’s flippers hit me on the right shoulder, which felt like being slapped with a big piece of wood. The magical spell was broken and I became concerned that the mother would surface, throwing me up in the air. However, she was gracious enough to forgive my intrusion into her calf’s private sphere. The moment of bliss in which I felt deeply connected to this large fellow living creature was gone. What was left: a scolding from the guide. I felt like a little schoolboy being reprimanded by the principal. But she was right, it was dangerous to do what I did. By the way, one week later, on the same whale watching tour, another guide was attacked and his hip bitten into by a tiger shark. He was fortunate that the surgeons were able to save his leg.

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Click to view the submissions received to date:

Magic in the Night, Another Moment of Bliss

Moments of Bliss: A Blessed Landfall

Destination...Bliss by Rob & Myrth

The Voyage of Pacific Bliss submitted by Captain Jack Lewis

Moment of Bliss in a Hammock in Palmerston Island, submitted by Gunter Hofmann

Moment of Bliss--A Mystical Motu Sunset on a Passage from Tahaa to Bora Bora,
submitted by Lois Crandell

There is a Green Flash!-- By Gunter Hofmann

The Eye of the Whale-- By Gunter Hofmann