Our 2nd Honeymoon in Paradise – Whale & Dolphin Watching in Moorea

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Capital One, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

Don’t forget to follow me on  Facebook or Twitter!

Michael Poole Moorea

Daraius & Emily on the Boat

Daraius:  Dr. Michael Poole is an American-born biologist who has spent the last 25 years in Moorea studying spinner dolphins and whales.  He also runs the Dolphin & Whale Watching Expeditions, which is an eco-tour to observe and to learn about the lives of wild, free-ranging dolphins and whales.  Proceeds from the tour also help fund his research on dolphins and whales.

I learned about the tour in the Moon guide to Tahiti.  The book suggested that Dr. Poole’s tour is the most environmentally sound tour (since he literally wrote the rules on what’s permissible or not with dolphins in Moorea) and is often not listed as an option in the activity list of hotels because Dr. Poole likely doesn’t pay a commission to the hotels.

I emailed Dr. Poole at [email protected] to ask about a tour on Sunday.  He quickly replied that there wasn’t a tour on Sunday, but there would be one on Monday.

The tour costs 8,000 XPF (~$87) per person which is collected in cash on the boat.  Our tour didn’t include time for snorkeling or diving, but that could be possible depending on the weather etc.

Emily:  After breakfast, we were picked up from the hotel at 8:00 am in a shared van (included in the cost) to get to Dr. Poole’s boat.  We stopped along the way to pick up guests from other hotels and after a 15 minute ride we arrived at the pier.   There were around 12 couples on the boat, along with a driver, Dr. Michael Poole, and his assistant.

Michael Poole Moorea

Emily by our Boat

Emily Jablon:  It was a sunny day on the island, but on the boat it was a bit overcast and windy, so be sure to bring a windbreaker or another warm jacket.  A hat is also good, preferable one that you can tie – Dr. Poole’s hat blew off the boat and had to be rescued!  Binoculars to see the dolphins and whales up close could help as well.

Daraius:  I didn’t have a sweater and the breeze felt great!

Dr. Poole explained the rules in both English and French.  The boat would not go in front of the dolphins and whales and trap them.  We would only go behind the animals.

His care for the animals was very evident and not surprising since French Polynesia’s government accepted his long-standing proposition to create a whale and dolphin sanctuary within all of the territory’s Exclusive Economic Zone, which is half the size of the USA.

He had a very nice system to ensure that everyone was able to take a picture.  If you were seated on the left side and saw an animal, you would sit down and take pictures while the right side of the boat would stand up and take pictures and vice versa.

Emily Jablon:  For the first part of the tour, we went to see some dolphins.

Michael Poole Moorea

View of Moorea from our Boat

We saw the dolphins’ fins as they swam in the water, but it was hard to see much else.  The area is home to ~160 dolphins, and Dr. Poole claims to have identified each and every one of them by their fins.

Michael Poole Moorea

Dolphin Roster!

The dolphin population has been steady in Moorea for many, many years.

The area is also home to the famous spinner dolphins that come out of the water and spin like a top.  It’s possible to see this on a tour, but we did not see any dolphins spin on our tour.

Michael Poole Moorea

Jumping out of the Water

After a while, we went to find the whales.  We saw four different whales on our outing.  There was a huge male whale that weighed more than 5 African elephants, a female that was nursing, a baby whale, and a young adult whale.

We saw them breathing through their blowholes.

Michael Poole Moorea

Breathing Through Blowholes

We saw them drift on their backs.

Michael Poole Moorea

Passing By

And occasionally we caught a glimpse of their tails.

Michael Poole Moorea

Diving In

Dr. Poole was very knowledgeable about both mammals, and we never tired of hearing his stories and his answers to the many questions asked by everyone on the boat.  He really made an effort to speak to all of his guests in English or French and learn where they traveled from.

The highlight of our trip was when one came right next to our boat.  We could see and hear it swoosh by and could have reached out to touch it!  See bottom left in the picture below for approximate distance from our boat!

Michael Poole Moorea

Swimming by our Boat

The tour lasted about 3.5 hours and we were back in our hotel at around 12:30.  It was a great way to spend a morning in Moorea!

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 7,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in a RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another trip report!

reading plus programhow to teach a 6 year old to read super simple phonics primary phonicsteaching elementary reading

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

25 responses to “Our 2nd Honeymoon in Paradise – Whale & Dolphin Watching in Moorea

  1. Seems pretty cloudy and rainy there for much of your time. Too bad.

  2. Great pic of the two of you together…you should frame it for your home!

  3. Dolphin watching on the open water is so fun! You guys look great. Love the matching hats (especially Emily’s)! 🙂

  4. Hey great pics and thanks for the detailed write-up! seems like heaven haha.

  5. @ Prana – Thanks! I got it at Nordstrom Rack for $3!

  6. @emily – clearly a girl with a sharp eye for a good bargain!

  7. Pingback: Hilton Moorea Food | Million Mile Secrets

  8. My girlfriend would have loved this whale and dolphin excursion. I can’t believe they got so close to the boat. What a great way to spend the morning.

  9. Pingback: Hilton Moorea Rooms | Million Mile Secrets

  10. For expeditions like this, I’d suggest a Tilly hat. They’re waterproof, they float, and they tie down around your neck.

  11. Pingback: Ferry to Moorea | Million Mile Secrets

  12. Pingback: Hilton Moorea Points | Million Mile Secrets

  13. Pingback: Moorea to Bora Bora | Million Mile Secrets

  14. Pingback: Bora Bora Jet Ski | Million Mile Secrets

  15. Pingback: Bora Bora Bike Ride | Million Mile Secrets

  16. Pingback: Air France Lounge – Los Angeles | Million Mile Secrets

  17. Pingback: Food in Bora Bora | Million Mile Secrets

  18. Pingback: Papeete Roulottes | Million Mile Secrets

  19. Pingback: InterContinental Thalasso Coral Garden Suite | Million Mile Secrets

  20. Pingback: Hilton Bora Bora Dining | Million Mile Secrets

  21. Pingback: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class | Million Mile Secrets

  22. Pingback: Intercontinental Thalasso Resort | Million Mile Secrets

  23. Pingback: Air France Business Class | Million Mile Secrets

  24. Pingback: A Few Hours In LA | Million Mile Secrets