Snorkeling with Beluga Whales

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Churchill, Manitoba

One of the most frequently asked questions is also the most difficult.

What was the best thing you did while you were away? ahhh, I don’t know..

I don’t know why I cannot answer that question but my mind starts to go in this topsy turvy kalidoscope move when I hear that question. I had no idea.

No idea until today.

Today was a warm and sunny day in Churchill, Frontiers North said the conditions were perfect to go snorkeling with the beluga whales.

Just yesterday I was out on the water and had an amazing experience seeing these animals come up to the boat.

But the idea of jumping into freezing water wasn’t the most appealing. But how could I turn down this experience?

So I put on a wet suit so tight it made me nausous and jumped into the water.

And while the video that Travel Manitoba was kind enough to capture is not the most flattering and reinforces my self-consciousness about the pitch of my voice.

I really don’t think there is any better way to explain what it’s like than to hear what I had to say when I finally dragged myself out of the water.

This is the most amazing thing I have ever done.

Machu Picchu was great, I loved the Atacama desert, all you can eat steak is an adventure but they don’t really compare.

I’ve never had an experience where a wild animal wanted to interact and play with me.

The belugas would see me as they swam by and turn back to get a better look.

It was so amazing that even though I have snorkeled before this was the moment I realized I need to learn to scuba dive.

Join the Conversation

  1. I love that your favourite moment came from a part of home. It’s nice to know. xoxo

  2. Don’t be self-conscious about the pitch of your voice! If I was in your position (and had just done what you did), I don’t think I would even be able to make noises…let alone form a whole sentence.

    This post simply warms my heart!

  3. I think it’s always difficult for people to pick a best moment/experience from their travels because there are usually so many good ones. But this sounded like a pretty lifetime amazing experience.

  4. Aww, so jealous – that is amazing! I think belugas are just such beautiful animals, I’m hoping to interact with them soon too.

    But my experience will be at Seaworld which doesn’t even compare to this!

  5. I love snorkeling, but I’m not sure I would want to be in the water with some huge animals…maybe. But I’m glad you shared your experience!

  6. Looks like a great adventure and to say its the most amazing thing you have done is saying alot! The beluga whales i am ok with but that water and the temperature im not sure about.

  7. eva hamori says:

    Wow! I love the idea of swimming with whales! glad you enjoyed yourself!

  8. Cherina | Quiet Wanderings says:

    You sound like you had THE best time, Ayngelina! I can totally see why this would make it to the top of your list. This has long been something I would love to do and I’m so glad you didn’t pass up the opportunity. I’m not a huge fan of the water but I hope to do this some day. Polar bears in Churchill for me first though.

  9. Roy Marvelous | cruisesurfingz says:

    Good for you AB! I’ve always wanted to swim with dolphins. Didn’t know you could do it with whales as well.

  10. This looks amazing. I got certified recently and the night dive was amazing!! So excited to go diving in Bali soon. Get certified and when you get to SE Asia we will go diving together!! So happy for you my friend!

  11. The Travel Chica says:

    Surprised that your most incredible experience was back in your home country?

    I would love to interact with animals in the wild like that.

  12. I can imagine that this was the most amazing thing you did. I think the Humpback Whale Experience was also one of the greatest I did! Interaction with animals have something special!

  13. Wow! I love love love those moments that help you to realize what you’re next goal is. Always leaves me feeling invigorated and I sense the same from you. Beautiful post!

    1. Whoops *your, not you’re.

  14. Lily (Explore for a Year) says:

    I got my PADI scuba diving license in Thailand on my current trip, which let’s you dive to 18 metres – I mostly saw fish, coral, a few rays, but that was already incredible. So I can only imagine what you experienced with the whale!

    – Lily

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I should have gotten certified when I was in SEA or when Geof got his certification in Honduras, oh well.

    2. wow – that is an amazing video!!

  15. Truly amazing. I am happy that you are still finding grand adventures each and every day. Keep it up girl!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I know, who woulda thought it would be in my own country!

  16. Looks like an unforgettable experience indeed. I’m happy for you Ayngelina!
    Take care.

  17. Emily in Chile says:

    That sounds incredible! I’ve never really been that interested in getting certified for diving, but I can see how something like this would change your mind.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I felt the same way, I have always been content with snorkeling but interacting with them like that was incredible.

  18. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED TO LEARN HOW TO DIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I know! Now I just need to find a place to do it!

  19. Anh Nguyen says:

    This looks like such an amazing experience! If I ever get to swim with beluga whales like you, I’d call it the most awesome experience ever too!

  20. I feel the same way. I can’t believe I haven’t learned to dive yet. I love how excited you are in the video!!!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I never really thought I was missing out on anything until now.

  21. I have to say diving opens you up to another world and another side of traveling!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      An expensive one!

  22. Hogga aka @TheHogga says:

    Awww it’s fantastic to see you so excited! Glad you’re enjoying the homeland 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah it was tough to get out of the water you could spend all day there.

  23. Hate to break it to you…but your voice does sound like that 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Sadly I know…

  24. Aaah diving. My favorite topic. I’ve done most of my world travel pursuing great dive locations. I particularly like to see sharks, so that has taken me to really remote spots. It’s a great activity. It just opens up a whole new world. now, diving with belugas is something I want to do. I haven’t done the cold water thing, but it’s on the list. Let me know if you have any dive or underwater photography questions… I’ll talk your ear off about that stuff.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Thanks Matt, I guess I’ll have to look into afforable scuba diving in Latin America for the winter.

  25. Amazing! Thanks for sharing. And from someone who was on the fence about scuba for so many years, I can now tell you that it is one of the best things ever. But definitely get your certification in a warm place 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      That’s what everyone says, I guess it’s a good reason to go back to Colombia!

  26. amazing experience!!! just like abby, cant believe i havent dived yet considering i live in the philippines… ugh…

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I do have a lot of great memories from the Philippines snorkeling…

  27. Thank you for sharing that video. Your excitement and happiness is infectious.

  28. Doreen Pendgracs says:

    Churchill is an amazing place, and whether you have a encounter with the belugas or the polar bears, they are life changing.

    I was in a zodiac with my bare feet hanging over the edge and a beluga put his nose up and seemed to kiss my toes! I’ll never forget that.

    Glad you’re enjoying your travels. Travel is the single most life-enriching activity one can partake in. Enjoy!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      That would be incredible, just seeing them from afar was amazing.

  29. Cathy Sweeney says:

    Cool video, Ayngelina. You look so happy — I’m sure that made the Travel Manitoba people happy, too! (By the way, nothing wrong with the pitch of your voice.)

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Ha thanks Cathy!

  30. For 91 Days Travel Blog says:

    This is so awesome and yes I’m very jealous!!!

  31. Meg | One Love Meg says:

    I LOVED Machu Picchu!!! Amazing. What trail did you do? We took the INCA, what a great experience. I am ready for Kilimanjaro!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      You are much more adventurous than I am Meg!

      I was in Cusco during rainy season so I took the train 🙂

  32. I love to snorkel but have never had too much of a desire to dive. This sounds like such a cool experience though 🙂

  33. I’m in LOVE with beluga whales!!! Next stop, Manitoba!!! I’m quite envious. If you do take on deep sea diving, invest in an underwater camera! 😉

  34. WOW it’s not surprising that this goes down as your number 1 experience, magical.

  35. You sound very exited about the experience under the water! So let me ask you, what was the best thing you did while you were swimming with whales 😀

  36. 😀 epic! That’s just so amazing. Definitely one for the books

  37. Oh wow! No wonder this is such a treasured memory for you. That must have been fantastic. 🙂

  38. Seattle Dredge says:

    It sounds amazing! I love the video 😀 haha

  39. Yup – that’s pretty AWESOME!

  40. The pitch of my voice sounded like that also, after jumping into Alaskan waters last week. That sounds so cool that you got to swim with the belugas!

    Don’t you just love those super thick wet suits that are virtually impossible to squeeze into? I think it took me 30 minutes to get into mine.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh man, I felt so nausous wearing that suit, I really thought I would throw up at any moment.

  41. That’s awesome, what an amazing experience! I’m hoping to do a similar outing with dolphins in New Zealand later this year, and this post made me even more excited about it. And I hope you do get scuba certified, it’s wonderful. My first open water dive, I kept having to hold the regulator in my mouth with one hand because I couldn’t stop grinning.

  42. Very cool! I want to do that tooo! 🙂 Next time you will have to get an underwater video! 🙂

  43. That video is awesome. You look like a Ninja Turtle. It’s a good thing!

  44. Eileen Ludwig says:

    Great job! Not me! Swimming with Fish is enough for me. My snorkeling experience included asking a stranger from the Cruise ship to hold my hand. I was afraid if I panic’d I would go the wrong way to the surface.

    It is wonderful you were able to do this adventure for yourself in FREEZing cold water on top of it.

  45. Raymond @ Man On The Lam says:

    Very cool! Did you have some beluga caviar afterwards? Oh wait that’s from beluga sturgeon and not beluga whales. Never mind! 🙂

    Still, very jealous of you…again!

  46. Wow, I’ve just stumbled across this and it’s amazing! Something I’ve always wanted to do and you’ve inspired me to make it happen. Thanks!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Love it! Churchill is amazing, you would not regret going there any time of year.

  47. OMG- this would be my dream come true! Seriously- I am so jealous right now!

  48. Love it, I’m moving to Canada this coming October. Can’t wait, so excited. I don’t think a year is going to be long enough.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Congrats where are you going, there are quite a few bloggers in Toronto.

  49. i felt/feel the same way about swimming with dolphins off the shores of la paz, mexico. it felt super special.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh I am jealous, I love Mexico it feels like everything is special in Spanish 🙂

  50. I agree with some comments above. Life’s funny: you can travel all around the world but the most exciting thing might still be right around the corner 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      So true, I think if I hadn’t traveled so far away I wouldn’t have appreciated how nice it was to have this so close to home.

  51. Cornelius Aesop says:

    That sounds fun, and I must say having your best travel moment ever be because of an animal well…that just goes to show you we animals rock!

  52. Wow! What an amazing experience to swim with creatures of such beauty. Hope your travels continue to inspire and amaze. 🙂

  53. Awesome experience! I can relate… kinda…

    We went whale watching in Baja which means you go out on these little boats and all the baby grey whales that were born are very curious and they come up to the boats with their mothers. They are all HUGE. Then you can pet them and play with them. Randy even kissed one. A wild whale! It was unbelievable and marks high up on the list of the most amazing travel experience. I can’t imagine what it must have been to swim with them – wow!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      That would be very cool, just to see animals in the wild has been so amazing.

  54. oh, didn’t you can swim with beluga whales…Will put it on the list. I did swim with whale sharks in Australia and with humback whales in Tonga, so beluga whales probably will be next 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s a really amazing experience, although a bit colder than in Tonga or Australia!

      1. I feel it is much much colder then in Australia or Tonga 🙂

  55. crazy sexy fun traveler says:

    It must have been amazing! I love all the whales and dolphins, the nicest animals and if you can get so close to them, even better 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah it’s pretty incredible to see them in the wild like that.

  56. Hi Ayngelina,

    I know it can be difficult to grab a moment on a holiday and declare which one is the best.

    But snorkeling with the beluga whales must have been really special and a moment that you will never forget. Very Jealous. :-).

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