Our favourite tourists are back – the whales!

Friday June 05, 2020 Written by Published in Environment
Two whales off Blackrock this week. Two whales off Blackrock this week. CHARLOTTE PIHO 20060539

Some regular visitors to Cook Islands are back – and earlier than expected. Covid-19 travel restrictions are still keeping tourists away, but the mighty humpbacks have returned.

Each year between July and October these mighty marine mammals pass by the Cook Islands as they migrate from cooler feeding grounds to warmer waters to mate and give birth.

This week, ocean photographer Charlotte Piho has seen whales every day off Blackwater, Waterline and Edgewater.

“It’s exciting to be back out with them,” said Piho, who has photographed these majestic animals over the years.

“Yesterday I went out to explore some caves outside the reef of Blackrock with two friends and we were blessed to have two whales putting on a show 100 metres in front of us. 

“And then today I had an amazing experience again outside of Blackrock with what appears to be the same two whales. 

According to Living Oceans Foundation, humpbacks are best-known for their singing, that reverberates through the water for hundreds of metres. They can reach 19 metres in length and weigh up to 40 tonnes.

“Nothing tops swimming with a whale,” Piho said. “It did change the chemistry inside of me and I still get emotional anytime I’m in the same body of water as them. 

“With all the unjust suffering in the world at this time, I had been wishing there was a Planet B. 

“Then the whales arrived and now I’m grateful to be exactly where I am. Not only has Cook Islands been blessed with being Covid-free but we have had the whales turn up a month early.”

Leave a comment