I first did a humpback whale swim with Rae Gill's Whaleswim Adventures in 2008 and I am contemplating a return trip soon. It is one of the most unique, life changing experiences you will ever have and it will set you on an amazing path.
Since then I have swum with minke whales, dolphins, whalesharks, dolphins and seals and I am totally hooked on these kinds of experiences as they are absolutely the closest to these amazing animals you can get. It is very humbling and a great privilege to do this kind of thing and this company is the standard by which I rate all other experiences. I am also now a big conservation nut too as I have learned so much from these sorts of eco tours.
Rae and her team are committed to not only providing you with the most amazing experience but her tours support the local economy, are highly protective of the whales and her company is highly regarded. Every now and again I run into people who have worked with her, or been on her tours and I hear rave reviews and always recommend!
I went on the 9 day tour with a friend and the group we went with was small and fun. In fact two of the people I met on this trip have regularly taken trips with me again and many of us keep in touch. The accommodation (now don't expect some 5 star resort - you are on the wrong tour is that is your thing but a super comfortable beach hut, steps from the water with an amazing view and whales swimming past at night is paradise to me) and places we visit during the 9 days was fantastic. The food was divine and the crew look after you very well. They know where the whales are, the secret places for the best snorkelling and there was a marine biologist on the crew too so you can ask a million questions. They look after your safety and I was a first time snorkeller so they group people into beginners and advanced. Now I am unstoppable!
We were blessed with almost perfect weather the whole time and whales every day. There was one day with choppy seas but if the whales aren't worried, either was I.
I personally recommend taking your own snorkel and mask that you are comfortable with and have practiced with!! Invest in something of good quality because you will need it every time you come back! Also invest in a good underwater camera. There are some pretty good point and shoot underwater cameras for under $300 now (mine was terrible) but Rae takes photos/video too which is great. You definitely want a shot of you with one of the biggest things in the ocean.
I can't say enough good things. This is a bucket list activity you should often!
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