whales

Natures Great Events – 2021 Humpbacks, Minkes and Orcas

In 2021 we are launching a new series of whale experiences in Australia and Norway. Whether you are interested in experiencing the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef or the wonders of the Northern lights, there is something amazing for everyone in this series.

 

Humpback whales at Ningaloo Reef, WA

As the humpbacks arrive in large numbers to breed and give birth, you will bear witness to one of nature’s great events. The crystal clear waters of Ningaloo Reef are the perfect place for nurturing mothers teaching their calves how to be whales, while groups of whales demonstrate their overwhelming presence. Your day is filled with excitement, only stopping to explore the coral reefs and abundant marine life that inhabits the Western Australia coastline.

 

Minke whales, Great Barrier Reef, QLD

Minke whales make their way through the Great Barrier Reef during the winter months which makes June and July the best months to experience these beautiful creatures up close and personal. These inherently curious whales have been known to seek out and investigate vessels in the water and enjoy interacting with swimmers which makes for a wonderful experience.

 

Orcas, Norway

This trip is for anyone interested in orcas, humpback whales, Northern lights and spectacular fjords. The best time of the year for this phenomena is November and January when the balance between light and access to herring and whales is at its best. The winter days in Norway provide excellent light for photography. We will spend the daylight hours looking for whales and other wildlife and, if the opportunity occurs, snorkel in the crystal clear waters.

For more information contact us through the website or directly via email at scott@scottportelli.com or +61 (0)402124453

Swimming with Gentle Giants appearing at the 2020 Ocean Film Festival

I’m excited to announce that my film Swimming with Gentle Giants will be featured as part of the 2020 Ocean Film Festival!

Produced and directed by Stefan Andrews from Ocean Imaging, Swimming with Gentle Giants explores my close connection to humpback whales and showcases some of the unique behaviours I’ve experienced while swimming with them in the pristine waters of Tonga.

Australian & New Zealand ocean lovers will be able to immerse themselves in the wonders of the ocean without getting their feet wet this coming February to April as the Ocean Film Festival World Tour makes a splash in cinemas across both countries. The festival, which features a carefully curated selection of the world’s most captivating ocean-themed will light up silver screens in 35 towns and cities. 

Tickets and screening times are available here

 

A big shout out to my amazing skipper Sione Fifita, expert local guide Vili Takau and Whales in the Wild who have supported and guided my adventures in Tonga for many years and who have helped make this film possible.

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 2014 season

Tonga – Still Paradise

I have been visiting Tonga for 13 years and spent many hours on the water photographing Humpback whales and I can tell you, every time I get in the water with these magnificent creatures, I am just as excited as the first time. Tonga has so much to offer, picturesque landscapes and underwater environments makes this place paradise for Photographers, and don’t forget the added bonus that you can swim with whales. It really is still paradise. Every year I see something  different or have one of those unforgettable encounters. This year I had a baby whale shoot up from the depths and breach half a meter in front of me, exhilarating to say the least. This year Travel & Fashion Blogger, Laura McWhinnie from This Island life did an interview piece about her time in Tonga with us, check out the article here:

http://www.thisislandlife.com/travel/swimming-with-humpback-whales-an-interview-with-scott-portelli

http://www.thisislandlife.com/travel/swimming-with-humpback-whales-in-vavau-tonga

This year we started the Tongan Fluke Collective, which encourages visiting photographers to donate Fluke shots to help ID the different individual whales that come to Tonga each year. You can find out more about the program here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/tonganflukecollective/ – Anyway we will be running a number of Photographic tours in the next year or so to various destinations, so stay tuned.

If you want to see some of the Video footage you can see this season’s wrap up here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcreHs7qcq0

Tonga 2014 season still paradise collage swimming with humpback whales  and through caves

Page 1 of 212