Exclusive opportunity to swim with and photograph humpback whales in a pristine environment - with clear water and few visitors



Join us on a truly special Picture Adventure expedition to swim with humpback whales in the incredibly rich waters of Comoros. Far from the madding crowd, Comoros’s Moheli Island has plenty of whales, but few swimmers. Picture Adventure has pioneered and personally created this incredible adventure: we collaborate with a whale research group, who share their expertise and experience in whale behavior to help provide the best possible encounters.

Patrick Dykstra and Joshua Barton of Picture Adventure have photographed and filmed for the BBC, National Geographic, Emirates Airlines, the Government of Djibouti and many others. In 2015 they filmed, for the first time ever, a blue whale suckling from its mother, and their work has appeared in documentaries, on magazine covers and in awards shows around the world. Both Patrick and Joshua know Reunion and its humpback whales well. Our goal, as always, is to work with the researchers to find the best areas and best times of day for humpbacks, teach you the best approach to get great encounters, and then help you get pictures of a lifetime – ideally of you with these gentle giants.

The Location

Moheli is a tiny, beautiful island that is in autonomous union with the former French territory of Comoros, in the Indian Ocean near Madagascar. With a unique culture, delicious food, and true remoteness, Moheli leaves little to be desired. Add to that its 30 ton annual visitors, and our little paradise runs laps around any other holiday destination.  Despite its remote location, Comoros has at least 5 daily one stop arrivals from Europe and UK via Addis Ababa, Nairobi, or the French islands of Reunion and Mayotte.

The Adventure

We will all arrive in the capital, Moroni, as close in schedule to each other as possible.  From there, we will proceed as a group by van and then our own chartered boat to the next island, Moheli, and our resort. We will stay in a comfortable and convenient hotel right on the beach.  Each morning we will have a nice buffet breakfast and head to sea right from our beach.  The whales are found from literally 200 feet off the beach, to the more usual 4-5 miles, where the water is deep and usually very clear. Humpback calves will be 4-6 months old by this time, and the mothers will be more comfortable with them venturing over to inspect small and noisy visitors such as us. Bumping across the seas in small boats, climbing in and out of the water, the energy sapping properties of cool water – and just exhilaration – bring each day at sea to a close by early afternoon.  On shore, we will rest and then head to different activities on shore, such as the turtle hatchery beaches, and the lemur forests.  On the last day, we will leave in our chartered boat early to cross the straits in calm waters and to enable everyone to catch flights the same day.

The Humpback Whale

Humpbacks are among the most social of the great whales – and certainly the most musical.  Mystery still shrouds how each year the humpback pods all over the world emerge from their Arctic and Antarctic feeding grounds and start singing the same song. But that is only one of many wonders.  What is known is that Megaptera novaeangliae are the least shy (or least afraid) of humans.  Once a whale is found, careful and respectful approach can lead to hours of interaction.

Besides humpbacks, the waters are known for whale sharks, mantas, melon headed whales and much more.


Comoros in September is mild: upper 70’s in the day, low 60’s at night. For the land: bring light clothes, with some long pants and long sleeve shirts, a light fleece jacket or summer sweater, and comfortable shoes. For the sea: board shorts are recommended (for men and women), a rash guard, snorkel+mask, long fins (freediver/spearfisher fins preferred), sunscreen, a good hat, and sunglasses. The sea temperature is slightly chilly (74.5 average in September), and you will want a 2-5mm depending on your sensitivity to cold. On the boat, cool breezes when you are wet can be chilly – another good reason for a suit. Keep in mind: agility, preparedness and speed are priorities.

Picture Adventure Expeditions

Picture Adventure hosts a very small number of guests on bold “expeditions of a lifetime”. Each Picture Adventure expedition is highly customized and often requires working in close partnership with top researchers to ensure that we are on the vanguard of what the natural world has to offer.


First Departure

Sep 07-Sep 14, 2019


Cost USD 6000: Single Supplement USD1000

Duration 7 Nights, 8 Days - 6 in water

Max. No. of Guests 6

Registration Deposit of 50% (required to hold your space; full payment due 60 days before departure)

Included Activities Airport transfers, hotel, buffet breakfast, snacks, 6 days at sea (boat/fuel/permits) to swim with whales

Excluded Airfare, lunch, dinner, drinks, side excursions,

Notes Mild weather: low 80's (28c) in the day; 60's (19c) at night. Mildly chilly water: 74.5 (23.5c) average.