heat run humpback whales tonga

Whales, whales and more whales

The 2018 Humpback whale season is about to kick off and as we get closer to seeing these majestic gentle giants, I can’t help but think of some of the truly amazing encounters we had last season. After 17 years taking people to swim with whales, I am still pleasantly surprised by the multitude of different behaviours I observe that have rarely been seen before. Last year we had baby whales licking their lips with their big frilly tongues, adult interactive whales that would spy-hop inches in front of us, false killer whales trailing the boat, pilot whale pods extending for kilometers across the ocean. So much to see in a season.

But I think the highlight would have been the 15 plus Humpback whales pursuing each other in what is called a ‘heat run’. The heat run is the ultimate wildlife encounter, multiple whales competing for a female which can last for hours or even days. Males show a multitude of behaviours while in a heat run: bubble netting, open mouth gulping, physical contact, loud acoustic sounds, it is truly one of nature’s great events. After 17 years I have documented some of the most common and unusual behaviour seen by Humpbacks in the region, but it is truly heart-thumping and adrenaline-pumping action to be a part of.

Check out the footage capturing this amazing behaviour above and below the surface:

Tonga 2013

Tonga Whale Swim 2013 Season: Amazing Surprise Wildlife Encounters

We had an amazing 2013 Season in Tonga this year filled with a multitude of mothers and calves and encounters with a number of creatures that were an unexpected surprise. We were swimming with and photographing Whales, Manta Rays, Blue Marlin, Leopard sharks and even a 15 metre long creature from the deep.

You can see all the photos from the 2013 season at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottyportelli

We are already looking forward to next season!

Tonga 2013

Jacobs Creek True Character Series

Scott Portelli featured in the Jacobs Creek True Character Series

The Jacobs Creek True Character Series is a collection of stories about inspirational people that have stayed true to dreams, through their passions. I was selected along with several other inspirational, funny, interesting characters from around the world to talk about my passion for whales.

You can watch the True Character series on youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/user/TrueCharacterSeries

Jacobs Creek True Character Series