Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Wow: whales, then more whales

Vlasoff Cay - popular with the locals on a beautiful day like this.
All tiredness left us as we cast off the mooring at Upolu and headed to Vlasoff Cay to the east. We'd no sooner hit the deeper channel between the reefs when we sighted our first whales of the day - a mother and calf playing in the deep leads that mark the way out of this reef complex and through to Green Island.
They were quite a way off so we watched for a bit before continuing towards Vlasoff, mindful of the tide.
We'd planned to approach this cay about an hour before high tide, spend a couple of hours there and head off again while the water was still high. It's way less stressful picking your way through the reef when you know you've got maximum water under you. When it's calm, the water is so clear it's impossible to tell the depth until the depth sounder is over the patch - bit late then though.
Sea Piper at Vlasoff from snorkel level.
Vlasoff was magnificent. We anchored in a clear white sand patch in five meters as we couldn't find the one public mooring listed on the Parks website. (We did locate it later through the binoculars. It's way off the cay, probably in a position where you can get to it on a low tide I guess.)
The tiny sand cay just had its peak out of the water and within the hour a number of small boats from the mainland had anchored on its verge, families had spilled out onto the beach and an aquamarine beach umbrella had gone up. It looked gorgeous.
A tiny part of Vlasoff Reef
We dropped our ladder and snorkelled straight off the boat, as usual, and within minutes were gasping out garbelled `Wows!' through the snorkel. There were thousands of tiny bright coloured fish amongst the coral gardens and again Merman dived down amongst them but they were barely disturbed by his presence. 
So many fish in this beautiful coral garden.
We stayed in the water till we both started to cramp up. It was hard to leave such a beautiful experience but our pruned (more than usual) skin was another indication we needed to stop.
We gingerly steered Sea Piper back into deeper water and headed back towards Upolu and the gap out of the reef complex. The mother whale and baby (assuming it was the same ones we'd seen before) had made their way further into the reef channel and came up almost directly in front of us. We had to move off to one side as the calf leapt and played around its mother. We just stopped and watched. It was awesome.
I know this is off-centre, but this shows how close the whales came - even the little camera could get a shot.

We had decided to quit while we were ahead with the weather and head back to the marina for the night. Crossing the passage between the reef and the mainland, three whales erupted from the water. They were well off in the distance but their size and the display they put on was awesome. It continued for at least 40 minutes until the sea haze and distance made them fade from our view. It must have been a perfect whale play day.
Bet they all slept well last night - same as us!

1 comment:

  1. Now that's more like the brochure!! xxleigh