Moorea and Rurutu
Dance with Whales

LOCATION: French Polynesia
TRIP LEADER: Karim Iliya
DIFFICULTY: Easy
GROUP SIZE: 6 people
DATES: Aug 4-12;  Aug 13-21; Aug 22-29, 2018
PRICE: starting from $3,550 USD

 
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TRIP DETAILS

This journey brings participants to two regions of French Polynesia to experience something like no other: swimming with humpback whales in their natural environment. These gentle giants are incredibly sentient and aware, and the quality of our interactions with them will depend on our ability to demonstrate that we mean them no harm. In addition to whales, there's a great chance we'll also be swimming alongside dolphins, turtles, reef sharks, rays and of course tons of fish. 

Our first stop is Rurutu-- known as the island of whales-- where we spend our first four days. Located five hundred kilometres south of Tahiti, Rurutu is part of the remote and rarely visited Austral Archipelago. The island is surrounded by a fringe reef, making it an ideal breeding spot for humpbacks. Each year, humpbacks migrate from the frigid, nutrient rich waters of Antarctica to this region to birth and raise their calves. With just under 2,500 inhabitants, Rurutu is a quiet, traditional Polynesian paradise with palm fringed beaches accessible all over the island. 

We begin our days at 6am for breakfast, before leaving from the shore at 7am on our private boat for a full day's journey in search of whales. Our days each end at 5pm, when we return to shore in time to relax, lounge on the beach and explore the island. Every evening we host an optional photography and editing lesson and brief for the next morning. 

After our stay on Rurutu, we return by plane to the island of Tahiti and transfer by ferry to Moorea for four more days of adventure. Moorea also has a significant population of humpbacks who make the migration north, as well as dolphins, reef sharks, sea turtles and rays, all of which are relatively common along the reefs that surround the island. In Moorea, we start our days early, spending our mornings and early afternoons searching out oceanic wildlife to explore and swim with. For those looking to try some diving or explore the rugged inland of the island, we will have one day for optional excursions as well before returning to Tahiti to fly home. 

 
 
 

TRIP LEADERS

 
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KARIM ILIYA
Karim Iliya on Instagram

Pursuing a variety of types of photography, Karim lives a nomadic lifestyle and travels the globe with a focus on photographing and filming wildlife and marine environments using free diving, underwater cameras, and quadcopter drones. Karim’s passion is in documenting threatened animals in an effort to create appreciation in order to help protect our delicate ecosystems. He has dedicated his life to the protection, preservation and documentation of marine species, specifically whales. His work has been featured in publications all over the world, including National Geographic, among others. 

 
 
 
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MATT REICHEL 
Matt Reichel on Instagram

Matt is a producer, documentarian, and photographer from Vancouver, and a co-founding member of Inertia Network. Before entering the world of media, he developed several not-for-profit and digital marketing ventures in China, Canada and Korea. Matt then went on to work on media projects from the high Arctic to the jungles of Central Africa to the hockey rink in Pyongyang, North Korea, documenting people, culture, wildlife, and events. He spent September 2017 in Tonga with Karim documenting whales and is excited to lead our upcoming whale programs in French Polynesia in 2018. 

 
 

DATES AND COSTS

 
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GROUP 1:

AUGUST 4-14, 2018

(6 spaces available)
Locations: Moorea and Rurutu
Activities: 6 days on the water, 1 day land excursion
Cost: $3,950 per person ($390 for single supplement)

GROUP 2:

AUGUST 13-21, 2018

(sold out, waitlist open)
Locations: Moorea and Rurutu
Activities: 6 days on the water, 1 day land excursion
Cost: $3,950 per person ($390 for single supplement)

GROUP 3:

AUGUST 22-29, 2018

(6 spaces available)
Location: Moorea (only)
Activities: 5 days on the water, 1 day land excursion
Cost: $3,550 per person ($330 for single supplement)

 

 
 

INCLUDED

  • Accommodation
  • Round-trip flights from Tahiti to Rurutu (groups 1 and 2)
  • Private boat fees and day excursions
  • Whale guides and trip leaders
  • Airport transfers at Papeete
  • Local transportation and ferry tickets
  • Breakfasts

NOT INCLUDED

  • Gear (bring your own snorkel, mask, fins and weight belt)
  • Camera equipment
  • Travel/medical insurance
  • Lunches and dinners
  • Personal spending
  • International airfare to and from Papeete
 
 

HOW TO JOIN

 
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