Pilot whales

At about eight in the morning, José spotted tuna boiling about three or four hundred meters offshore. As a lifelong fisherman, it's easy for him to spot with the naked eye. As a relative layman by comparison, it was difficult for me to spot even with binoculars. You can see shimmery, white flashes as the light reflects off the tuna jumping out of the water. Tuna boiling oftentimes means whale sharks, pilot whales, dolphins, or something large that disrupts the calm of schooling tuna. I gave everyone on the morning boat notice that we'd seen tuna, and to perhaps bring a snorkel. When José spots something, listen.

I was first off the boat, to check for sharks, specifically oceanic whitetips, which have a reputation for being aggressive, unafraid, and unlike most sharks willing to put up with a fight to get their meal. Oftentimes oceanic whitetips follow pilot whales, presumably to pick up scraps when the whales feed but who really knows. Nobody who knows sharks is afraid of hammerheads, but oceanic whitetips make you think twice. I'm sure the sharks were there, somewhere deep, but it was reassuring to not see them at the surface. Still, visibility wasn't great (which is also why the pics aren't so great) so we played it relatively safe. We stayed as a group and didn't stray too far from the boat. We learned from our past adventure.

It was my second time swimming with pilot whales in Honduras, each thanks to José and each on Delfín. The first encounter was a bit more harrowing. Oceanic whitetips circled between us and the boat, and my dive buddy got not only circled but also bumped. He didn't exactly remain calm, but live and learn fortunately that day no harm done. Something I'll never forget.

One of the many pilot whales we spotted today, just off the coast of Honduras.

The mainland of Honduras can be seen in the background, as seen from the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Roatán near Half Moon Bay in West End. One of maybe two dozen pilot whales surrounding the boat.

One of the rare moments that I wish I dove with a camera.