The whale’s sonar began to click through my body. Click-click-click.


Dr. Philip Hoare: Swimming with Sperm Whales in the Atlantic Ocean:

“I’d been fascinated—obsessed, really—with whales since I was a boy…It wasn’t till the year 2000 that I came face-to-face with the real animals, on a whale-watching tour off the coast of Cape Cod. Nothing compares with the sight of a 50-foot, 50-ton humpback breaching a dozen yards off your boat, surrounded by a halo of glistening sea spray…

…The water was calm and the animals were socializing at the surface. There was no time to put on my wet suit; I jammed on my fins, pulled on a mask and snorkel and squeaked over the side of boat—and into the profound…Suddenly, there they were, only a bus-length away: more than a dozen leviathans. My vision was wall-to-wall whales. I could feel my heart beating hard against my rib cage. The largest of the animals detached itself from the pod and began to swim directly at me…

…The whale kept on coming. “OK,” I thought. “It’s either going to ram me with that enormous head—or it’s going to open its mouth at the last moment.”

…But just as I was reconciling myself to the inevitable, I felt—I didn’t hear—the whale’s sonar begin to click through my body. Click-click-click. Through my skull, through my sternum, its exquisitely accurate echo location scanning me like an MRI…The whale came within an arm’s reach. I could have touched it, but I knew that wasn’t part of the contract. It turned on its side and looked me right in the eye. It was a look of sentience, and of comprehension…

…Then the whale dove into its domain, from the blue into the black below. I laughed to myself, out of relief or ecstasy. That night, when I closed my eyes, the whale swam into my head. It’s still there now.

Read Dr. Hoare’s full article: Swimming With Sperm Whales in the Atlantic Ocean. Find his book here: The Sea Inside.



  1. Wow…I realized that I was holding my breath while reading this. What an experience and how terrifically shared.


  2. I, too, found myself wondering if he was “gonna do a Jonah….” Amazing. Such proximity with such a magnificent animal is indeed profound. Had an experience like this with an elephant while on a safari. Scared the bejesus out of me and I really did think I might die, but afterwards all I could think was “Wow, that was incredible!” Now heading over to read article and check out book. Thx for the recommendation,pal! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How absolutely wonderful!


  4. beautiful chills


  5. I felt that through my body, too. Thanks.


  6. I can’t imagine the terror, but being too mesmerized to care.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Beautiful, amazing and wondrous! You and the whale are one. It’s a beautiful story. Thank you.


  8. Beautiful story about such an encounter…and what struck me the most is how gentle and knowing such a huge creature can be. It makes me sad many times to think that humans are not themselves so gentle and knowing toward their fellow creatures on this planet. I believe that the memory of such an event will certainly be a part of this man for all of his life.


  9. I watched the documentary ‘Blackfish’ last week. This post brought the tears back again. Good tears this time – ones of awe and wonder. They are just magnificent creatures. Thank you David.


  10. Alex Jones says:

    That is an experience few will ever have.


  11. Holy Moly!! Stupendous. I have been bombarded by schools of dolphin sonar, but sperm whales??? Amazing!!!!!


  12. What an amazing gift this was. And his writing brought me into the water with him. Beautiful!


  13. Wow! Amazing!


  14. OMG what a terrific experience.


  15. That’s the most amazing whale encounter I ever read about. 🐳

    Liked by 1 person

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