April 27 2012, around 11am – one mile northwest of the Forbidden Island (Ni’ihau). Today we would capture something truly spectacular – Humpback Whales Mating live on video! Probably for the first time on this planet! Probably witnessed before by no other earthlings! But I did not even know I had these photos until eight hours later, while going through the footage.
For the last thirty plus years, all my whale encounters were with hopes of happening upon that holy whale grail—actual mating. We whale enthusiasts thought it could never be photographed. Because after the males battle it out, the winner and his female vanish into the dark depths to consumate their love—or so we thought. Imagine my speechless shock when I replayed the video—three times to register it! My knees buckled, and buckled again before bed as I joyfully wept, thanking the Creator.
Not just a fluke of luck, this rare encounter that crewman Wayne Daniel and I alone witnessed. I had asked four others to accompany me to Ni’ihau. All had believable excuses—too busy, schedules too hectic. Wayne and I, the last men standing, were chosen this special day.
The seed or thirst for ocean adventure had been planted in me long ago, reading National Geographic, watching TV specials. My hero was Jacques Costeau—he who brought ocean secrets into America’s living rooms, planting seeds of adventure for the next generation.