A Whales Tail

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I think this would be an appropriate title considering my first-hand experience playing hide-and-seek with a Humpback Whale in the deep waters of Mauritius !!

I had been out on a catamaran cruise around the West coast of Mauritius with clients when our
captain received a call that there had been a whale sighting just a little ahead of where we were cruising. Our catamaran sped through the waters and soon enough I managed to catch sight of the tail of the whale ....

I can't begin to even describe just how exhilarating it felt to be able to see .. I mean actually 'see' a live whale right before my eyes ... here was this mammoth size mammal that was at one point towards the brink of extinction that has since slightly recovered due to the introduction of a whaling moratoriums in 1996.

So here's this amazing mammal quite literally swimming circles around four catamarans and a speed boat ....until finally the whale has managed to surface in between the four catamarans giving all us wide-eyed passengers the ultimate photo opportunity !

"The humpback has a distinctive body shape, with unusually long pectoral fins and a knobbly head. It is an acrobatic animal, often breaching (throwing two thirds or more of their bodies out of the water and splashing down on their backs) and slapping the water."

Since it was my first ever whale sighting here are a few things I noticed about this whale ...this one probably wasn't a full grown whale (but then again - as if I would know this !!), it had a relatively stocky body, with very obvious whitish bumps near the head.

The curious creature that I am - I turned to the google for all my answers ... I just wanted to know everything there was to know about these mammals :) So the knobs which I saw are actually on the head and lower jaw and are known as 'tubercles', which are actually 'hair follicles' and are a characteristic of the species.

Consider this ... thanks to Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and National Geographic - we, as a population are increasingly aware of the various species of animals and marine life that are currently existent ... and I can bet that a relatively high percentage of those who watch these channels would want to actually 'see' these magnificent creatures up, close and personal.

Now most of us will at some time or the other, be able to take a land / jungle safari and therefore be able to perhaps do a 'walk with the big cats' or do a drive through and look at the other wildlife on land. However, to be amongst the larger marine mammals ... that's another story altogether ! Yes, we can experience the underwater world by snorkeling, and those more adventurous will go scuba diving ... and yet the fear of the unknown world of sharks and whales is enough to make even that percentile of the population think twice before taking a dive into the deep blue !

I feel honoured that I have had the opportunity to cruise alongside this gentle giant of the seas and watch it at it's playful best :)