My Fourteenth Birthday

My fourteenth birthday was last Saturday, October 7th, and we went on an excursion to see Whale Sharks along with other animals. Dad, Mom,Keely, and I woke up at six in the morning and got all of our gear ready to go. We ate a quick breakfast and piled up into the old, red Renault.IMG_9448.JPG

It was at least a forty minute drive to the excursion’s headquarters. When we arrived at our destination, we let them know we were there and waited for the others to show up. Once all the people had arrived, we headed down to the boats and got in. There were 8 people in our boat which was a perfect amount. You don’t want to be on a crowded boat when you’re looking at Whale Sharks.

We ventured out into the deep blue. In the distance there were many splashes at the top of the water, and lots of gulls were diving into the water one after the other. As we approached that area the driver turned the motor to the slower speed. We were looking but we couldn’t see anything. Then our guide pointed out a huge mass in the ocean moving toward our boat. It was a Whale Shark, about 7 meters long, which is over 20 feet.

“Go go go,” our guide shouted, and we all jumped off the back of the boat into the never-ending ocean; not sure what could be down there. Once the bubbles cleared from around my goggles I looked around and saw the Whale Shark to my left. It was huge! GOPR4255.jpg

We swam with this gentle giant for about thirty minutes, and I enjoyed every moment of it. We jumped back into the boat, and drove straight out into the blazing horizon, looking for some whales. Eventually, we found some Omura’s Whales. They are one of the most secretive whales in the world, and Madagascar is one of the few places where you can see them.

Then our guide got a call from his partner in the other boat and we started the ride over to them. We pulled up to the site where they called from. They were still there and they had guests; Mobula rays. These rays feed by flying at the top of the water really fast, diving, and doing one back-flip in the water. It was fun to watch. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get the feeding process on film.

It was mid-day now and we were all hungry and ready for a meal. So we headed for Nosy Sakatia. On the way we saw a pod of dolphins. They were so cool to watch come up to the surface and dive back down into the water. We tried to swim with them but they were a snobby bunch and dove back deep into the water.

So on we went to Nosy Sakatia. We enjoyed a traditional Sakalava meal of rice and fresh grilled fish. Afterwards, we rested and waited for the voyage to start again.

It was time. We got back into the boats and took a 2 minute drive to the turtles. We jumped in and swam with the slow-going turtles for a long time. It’s lots of fun to swim with these calm animals. Except we met one small one that was pretty camera-shy and turned on her turbo jets. It was hard to catch up with her, but I got some footage.

On the ride back to Nosy Be I started to reflect on the blessing that was upon me, and I entered a stage of true gratefulness for being able to see these awesome creatures.

Here’s a little video I made for the occasion. Enjoy!

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