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Diver almost collides with a baby humpback as she swims with the whale in Moorea, Tahiti [Video]


This is the exhilarating moment a free diver nearly collided with a baby humpback whale in an unexpectedly close encounter. 

Mitch Brown, 27, and his girlfriend Yanna Xian, 24, were swimming on a whale boat tour in Moorea, Tahiti, when they were approached by a two-week-old humpback. 

Footage shows the curious calf swimming right up close to Yanna before it dives towards the seabed.  

Yanna Xian, 24, got within touching distance of a two-week-old humpback calf on a free diving trip to Moorea, Tahiti

Yanna Xian, 24, got within touching distance of a two-week-old humpback calf on a free diving trip to Moorea, Tahiti

Because of its massive size, and the movement of the water, the whale nearly pulls her down with it, forcing Yanna to frantically swim upwards.

Brown, 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.

‘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.’

The couple booked onto a whale-spotting boat tour with Moorea Blue Water on the final day of their trip last September.

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

Yanna's boyfriend, 27-year-old Mitch Brown, described the incredible encounter as 'a bucket list item that she didn't even know she had'

Yanna’s boyfriend, 27-year-old Mitch Brown, described the incredible encounter as ‘a bucket list item that she didn’t even know she had’ 

Yanna had just finished emptying water out of her googles, and when she put her head back under water the baby humpback was only feet away from her

Yanna had just finished emptying water out of her googles, and when she put her head back under water the baby humpback was only feet away from her

Photographer Mitch said: ‘We love travelling and freediving in our free time, we knew Tahiti was a bucket list destination to swim with whales.

‘We were just swimming on the top of the water because we saw a mama whale and the baby whale resting at the bottom of the ocean.

‘As we calmly watch them from above the water, this curious baby whale decides to come up to check us out.’

The baby was caught on camera swimming up to the ocean’s surface and rolling about in play, before deciding to dive back down just inches from Apple Store worker Yanna.

Brown, who also works at the Apple Store, said: ‘It was a beautiful display of respect from both of them.

‘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.

As the whale descended towards the seabed, it created a downwards pull that Yanna had to swim hard against to avoid being dragged down with the cetacean

As the whale descended towards the seabed, it created a downwards pull that Yanna had to swim hard against to avoid being dragged down with the cetacean

The couple spent the final day of their trip to Moorea, Tahiti, last September on a whale-spotting boat tour with Moorea Blue Water

The couple spent the final day of their trip to Moorea, Tahiti, last September on a whale-spotting boat tour with Moorea Blue Water

‘I was more worried the whale would 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.’



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