Baby whale nearly collides with diver after swimming to check her out


The moment the curious whale came to say hello
The moment the curious whale came to say hello (Picture: Mitch Brown/SWNS)

A free diver had an incredible encounter with a baby humpback whale while swimming in Tahiti.

Yanna Xian, 24, was on holiday swimming with boyfriend Mitch Brown, 27, when the two saw a mum and her calf resting at the bottom of the ocean.

She tried to stay close to the surface of the water so she didn’t disturb them – but the baby had other ideas.

The curious calf, thought to be about two weeks old, swam right up to Yanna before descending into the sea.

Because of its huge size, it nearly pulled her with it due to the movement of the water, forcing Yanna to frantically swim upwards to keep herself from going down too.

Mitch, from Honolulu, Hawaii, said: ‘Whales had been almost that close to us before, but they always had a clear sense of direction which was almost always away from us.

‘This one may have not seen Yanna which is why it reared its head before touching her.

Mitch Brown and his girlfriend Yanna Xian
Mitch Brown and his girlfriend Yanna Xian (Picture: Mitch Brown/SWNS)

‘As it was swimming away was the time I realized we had just created a life memory.

‘It felt like a true connection between human and whale.’

Photographer Mitch had a camera with him so was able to capture the moment the whale came so close.

They had booked onto a whale-spotting boat tour with Moorea Blue Water on the final day of their trip to Moorea, Tahiti, in September 2021.

Every so often, the boat would stop and they would be able to get into the water to view whales in their natural habitat.

Mitch and Yanna, who both work at the Apple store, love travelling and exploring in their spare time but weren’t expecting quite such a memorable moment.

‘It was a beautiful display of respect from both of them,’ Mitch said.

‘The whale clearly didn’t want to run into Yanna and Yanna tried to swim back with her hands instead of feet to avoid kicking the whale.

The curious calf swam right up to Yanna before descending into the sea (Picture: Mitch Brown/SWNS)
Yanna pictured facing the baby whale
Mitch said there was ‘definitely a moment of connection between the two of them’ (Picture: Mitch Brown/SWNS)

‘I was more worried the whale would in unintentionally hit Yanna, and it happened so quickly that by the time I could react the whale was changing course.

‘After that we all swam to each other and showed each other videos and photos and were laughing and high-fiving.

‘We were all so stoked we got to witness that.

‘There was definitely a moment of connection between the two of them.’

Yanna was letting some water our her goggles when the whale approached, and when she put her head back underneath she saw it was right in front of her.

She did not touch the whale, but the experience left a huge impression.

Mitch said: ‘She could not believe that she just interacted with the baby whale up close.

‘It was definitely a bucket list item that she didn’t even know she had.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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