I’ve swum with humpback whales many times in Tonga – well over 100 swims altogether during my four visits there on retreat – and now I can gratefully add ten more incredible encounters to that list of once-in-a-lifetime experiences; two of which were truly exceptional.
It’s a very different situation being in the water with the ‘Western Aussie’ whales, as opposed to their more relaxed cousins in the South Pacific.
These whales are on a mission, and you can see it from the surface long before you get into the water with them. They are migrating and they are traveling at quite a decent speed most of the time, some with calves and escorts, some with a few juveniles in tow, some groups of boisterous males trying to distract the mothers into mating, and others most likely heavily pregnant and just getting on with it. Like all mothers, they just want to get to their destination – “are we there yet?!” – and as our local guides communicated, it is rather rare to get a pod that slows down to look at you properly, let alone to find yourself being circled by them after they have deliberately turned off the highway to come check you out in person.
And yet this is exactly what happened to me at Ningaloo Reef. TWICE.
It’s good to never have any expectations before you head out to swim with whales because absolutely anything can (or won’t) happen. It really depends on the whales, and whilst I am a whale whisperer, I too, have to let go of hoping certain things will happen and focus on just being as present as I can. I have learned to harness my excitement and channel it into a sense of trust and surrender that I will receive exactly what I need, as I need it, on the day. It’s a bit like redirecting hyperactive energy around your body so it’s more easily processed and balanced. Despite sometimes a small part of my/our human egos wanting a postcard perfect moment or validation for the huge expense and effort invested in getting out there on the water in the first place, you really do have to get out of your head and keep the faith. And BREATHE.
You see, it’s really all about heart connection, and if you’re not in yours, they will feel it. If you are, you will hear, see and receive something beyond what the limited human mind can imagine, and it will be of course, exactly what is needed for your particular journey.
I share this knowing as I have witnessed it time and again with those who have come on retreat with me, and with others that I have swum with sharing the same tour with me, and whilst some people understand what I am talking about, many just stare at me like I am some sun-stroked ocean hippie that’s had one too many astral boat trips. Sadly, there are still a lot of people out there who remain quite closed down, shut off from their hearts and from letting themselves feel anything unexpectedly deep or different. The fear of opening their minds and removing blinkers to connect from a different angle, even if just for a moment so they may discover something truly mind-blowing, is perhaps still a little bit of a stretch, and it’s such a pity, because once you do take a ‘risk’ and expand beyond your limitations, that’s when you really understand what it means to be alive.
And if there's one thing that swimming with whales does, it’s let you know you’re alive.
You WILL FEEL DEEPLY. You can’t escape it, because it’s what they are all about: HEALING.
Everyone of course will experience a swim in a different way because it’s their own personal catharsis, but everyone will undeniably be changed for life after even just being in the water, in close proximity, to one of these gentle giants. Their energy is so pure and so powerful. The water they inhabit is charged with prana, life force. You are floating in their homeland, their territory, listening to their song, absorbing that vibration through your skin, your lungs, your heart chakra and into your own auric field. The salty waters are penetrating every part of you and stimulating your own inner fluid body. It’s the same primal energies, pulses and vibrations created from their movements and being emitted from their unfathomable hearts, from which all beings were created, and they are filtering all that information constantly, clearing it, protecting it and then activating it so we may receive what we need through our own receptors.
They are not just big ocean puppy dogs (as I like to call them); they are sentient masters who carry the planetary records and codes of awakening for humanity and for every living creature on Earth.
They also support the entire planetary ecosystem with their nutrient dense poo! When whales excrete near the surface, this acts as fertilizer for billions of phytoplankton, and because pretty much all life depends on plants and photosynthesis, these ancient cetaceans are essentially moving oceanic recycling machines. We owe our very existence to them.
What you get out of your whale swim is also entirely up to you. It takes effort to get in and out of the water in often choppy and chilly conditions, and not every attempt is successful. Sometimes you miss them by a hair or even a kilometer because they can turn on a dime if they wish, and sometimes the visibility doesn’t allow for any contact at all. You must have patience and endurance plus a reasonable level of fitness to keep going throughout the day, as you may be in and out of the boat several times, waiting for the ‘perfect’ conditions and the right pod of whales who seem keen on interacting. You’ve got to be ready to ‘Quick, get in NOW!’ when your captain calls it, so you are more often than not, laying around in your wet-suit with gear in hand all day, just in case. Wind chill factor is a beearch lol. You can’t force contact either; they must initiate first, plus, there’s no way anyone is going to be able to manipulate a moving submarine if it doesn’t want to say hello! One pulse of that massive tail and they are gone, dissolving into the big, deep blue right before your eyes, and by the same token, they can materialize out of nowhere right in front of you as well, so you must be in the moment and ready for anything. I nearly rubbed noses with one when I popped up out of the water and turned around at the same time as a curious juvenile, and was astounded at how close it’s whiskery barnacles were. I could have touched them. Most people would be freaked out by that, but I just wanted to hug it!
Something else happens to you when you share space with a whale: your DNA actively starts to change.
This takes a while however and my personal belief is that it takes quite a few encounters for this to happen and is totally dependent on your personal commitment to self-healing and being open to receive and not judge what comes, or what doesn’t come, for you. But you will most definitely be changed on several levels after swimming beside one of these beautiful beings.
Your cells re-calibrate, your energetic system purifies and transforms and your mind matrix receives an upgrade, in alignment with what is appropriate for you in this lifetime. You don’t feel this immediately or as an actual physical sensation; it’s something that slowly infuses and continues to influence your behavior, your perception, your attitude and overall well being, once you’ve returned home and are integrating what has happened. You will most likely just feel more alive, positive and energized in the beginning, and then flow into deeper connection with your truth as time goes on. Sometimes you finally make that big life decision or find inspiration where it previously eluded you, but mostly you are able to reconnect with your inner nature and what is important for you, and from there, your whole world can change.
In Tonga, I liken the waters to the primordial womb because it is just so juicy and viscous, and on the Coral Coast, I got the sense that this fringing channel is the umbilical cord that connects all and draws each whale to their communal source of nourishment and wisdom. I certainly felt the chord connecting these two beautiful parts of the world when I was in the water, but that may not be accessible to everyone, especially if they aren’t particularly spiritual, or working with shamanic energies like myself. This is my own interpretation and experience, but it’s also something that I teach others to receive and develop within themselves because I believe we are all our greatest teachers, and the whales, our greatest gurus. I’ll explain more at the end of this share.
As these masters travel their various routes around the world, they are all massaging the oceanic song lines and feeding these potent pathways with their ancient healing energies, their own tribal songs and their playful displays both under the water and on Her surface. This keeps the sacred grids alive and awake so that all beings on Earth may benefit. The whales as I said before, are the keepers of all the cosmic codes, the master initiators of myriad rites and ceremonies that must be upheld and nurtured, in order for all life to thrive and evolve, so this is very important work that we are so lucky to be aware of, and to witness.
This is why it is important when you visit sacred sites anywhere in the world, to show gratitude for the place you are at, to send love into it, to pay your respects, honor the ancestors and to ensure that your energy becomes a deliberate and conscious contribution to the health and happiness of all sentient beings. Without this practice, sacred sites can become dormant and their potential stalled. The mighty whales ensure that the divined energies of the Rainbow Snake and the Plumed Serpent continue to flow and activate around the entire globe so that consciousness keeps expanding as it is designed.
So you see, there’s more to just having a holiday and floating in the water with your GoPro ready!
I didn’t even get any great footage of one of my incredible moments because I totally forgot I had the camera in my hand! I was so present and transfixed by the eye of this one gorgeous and curious whale as he/she brushed beside me fully checking me out, literally ‘hugging’ me with its’ energy field, that I lost consciousness almost, in the sense that I couldn’t care about anything else but that moment and what we were sharing. I just hovered beside it like a piece of plankton, bobbing in the current and moving ever closer towards it's huge body, magnetized towards it organically, and just kept giving thanks to Great Spirit with every beat of my pounding and exploding-open heart. I do remember seeing every groove and barnacle in macro vision and reaching out to it's pec fin when I sensed it was lifting it up towards me. It probably thought I was a penguin or a tiny whale in my black and white wet-suit! The image is in my head and heart forever anyway, and that is a gift beyond words.
Watching their above water antics is just as satisfying as well. When they breach they do so for many reasons apparently – clearing off barnacles, communicating with each other as they migrate, or just having fun because they are learning how to be a whale, and because they can – and when underwater they are getting busy either in heat runs, engaging in territorial behavior, nursing calves or interacting with other marine life and expressing themselves as only a sometimes 50+ tonne whale can do.
The whale that chooses to engage with you, does so because you have called it in, from your heart, with love, beauty and the purest of intentions. It’s an incredible privilege to be ‘seen’ and heard by a whale, and I can tell you without a doubt, that despite their impressive size, there is absolutely nothing to be afraid of when you are with them. If you are lucky enough to hold their gaze, all you can think about is love. Everything else pales in comparison to the profundity of the moment. And yes, there will be tears. One thing that struck me powerfully the first time I swam with them in Tonga, was how gracious and accepting they were of us. I was overwhelmed by the love I felt from them and humbled by the fact that they allowed us to share their home, especially after all that mankind has subjected them to (and still does). I also learned very quickly that you can’t breathe and cry at the same time with a snorkel and mask on lol!
Humpbacks are most certainly the gentle giants of the deep, supremely intelligent and they do not wish (or try) to harm us.
As an animal advocate and communicator, having a healing session with me, via Skype, Messenger or phone, will help align you with your highest energies and intentions before you go, as well as after you return home. This is particularly beneficial if you are already pregnant or planning to conceive, as well as for any adults or children with spectrum sensitivities or challenges.
A 90-minute shamanic activation with me will:
· Clear physical, mental, emotional and energetic bodies so your entire being will be more receptive to anything the whales share with you, such as light language or telepathic gifts.
· Dissolve any ancestral stories that no longer serve your souls’ purpose so you can re-create new pathways of living and loving as you connect with the majestic mammals.
· Ensure your soul has indigenous permission to do your healing work, wherever you are in the world.
· Anchor your particular genetic coding into the earth and ocean grid and ley lines to ensure you are inner nature is aligned with Mother nature.
· Help ease and erase any fears about being in the open ocean, around large creatures or any phobias connected to the water that you may have experienced as a child or in early life.
· Activate your DNA appropriately so the layers of your energy fields are fully receptive and cleared of debris, blockage and resistance.
· Remove any patterns or unconscious habits that may be hindering your ability to fully integrate what you experienced whilst in the water with the whales.
· Help you make any life changing decisions with ease and confidence, plus strengthen your faith that you are supported as you do so.
· Decipher any dreams and visions that may be coming through from the whales and empower you with some simple yet profound tools to keep moving forwards with love and trust.
· Activate your creative body so you feel more awake, alive and inspired through your encounters in the ocean.
· Sensitivities can be re-calibrated before and after your trip to reduce anxiety, ease agitation and transform any fears.
· For parents-to-be, these sessions are potent catalysts for healing familial bloodlines and imbalances and easing discomfort/dis-ease on any level connected to fertility, conception and pregnancy.
Swimming with humpbacks is something I wish for everyone to experience because I know how truly life changing it is, but it obviously needs to be done with tour companies who are conscious, eco-aware and respectful of the guidelines in place. It is of paramount importance to protect these animals and reduce the impact of us humans as much as possible so that their lives are enhanced by our presence, not harmed as they so often are. The sea is their domain after all; we are merely visitors for a few hours.
It’s an incredible privilege to witness them in their element and after my divine experiences here in WA, I am tempted to take another group to Tonga in 2019 for what I know will be a soul-altering week for both human and whale, and one to Ningaloo Reef in 2020. Let me know if you're keen for either or both!
It would be a week supported by shamanic healing, yoga, meditation and mindful, conscious practices during the week also makes all the difference, so that we don’t just get to swim with the whales, we actually participate in making their world a safer, healthier and better protected sanctuary that they, and their calves, deserve. And you benefit from my knowledge and experience and gifted ability to decipher messages from the whales for you.
This is one thing I have found missing during all of my trips, both here and overseas: the lack of spiritual knowledge and connection to the various paths of mythology, geo-mythics, esoteric archetypes, indigenous rituals and the energetics of the whales as a sacred and sentient species. This information I believe is vital in helping create a complete and conscious experience for people and for manifesting profound personal and collective change once people do grasp the magnitude of the adventure they are embarking upon. It makes for a more holistic and heart-centered journey, one more likely to affect them deeply and steer them towards environmentally sound lifestyle choices in the future as well.
If you’re interested, please register your interest and I’ll keep you posted. It will be an intimate group and you'll receive daily yoga and meditation, full moon rituals, personal healing sessions, massage, all food and eco-accommodation, several whale swims (on a luxury catarmaran), countless snorkeling opportunities, cultural connections, all transfers (you sort out your flights) and eco-luxe welcome gifts. A donation levy to Sea Shepherd will also be included in your package price as well, and of course, like all my retreats it is a plastic-free scenario, so you are not only having a great holiday, you are doing your bit to help make a difference as well.
And if you are planning to go to Ningaloo Reef I can't recommend the crew at Live Ningaloo enough. They were a super professional, informative, humorous bunch of awesome ocean and whale loving peeps, and I am forever grateful to them for getting me into exactly the right positions so I could connect with my whales as I needed. Small groups make for such a better experience on and in the water, and these guys have got it down pat. Thanks Sonja, Murray, Chris, Katie and Doug.
Please visit www.denbysheather.com for details and make sure you are on our email list so you receive any updates.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my whale-tales, so please get in touch if you are keen to know more.