This was one of the highlights of our trip. Something about seeing big animals up close that is truly inspiring. The video clip below was taken in the Manchalilla National Park in Ecuador, which is sometimes called "the poor man's Galapagos'.
After doing a few such excursions, treks and trips you come to realize that much of the time the animals aren't willing to co-operate. You might get a glimpse of them, but it is so fleeting that it is unsatisfying. These monster humpback whales in Ecuador surprised us by being so unconcerned about our little tour boat trundling along parallel to them. They seemed so joyously wrapped up in being whales in the mating season - splashing and diving and lifting their huge tail fins. Brilliant.
The whole trip including lunch and a walking tour of a bird colony only came to about $30. It was worth it. Obviously not as animal-tastic as going to the Galapagos islands; but still full on. Besides, as I've mentioned before, there is an irritating smug factor about going to the Galapagos islands that puts me off wasting the thousands of dollars. People confuse going to special places with them being special people. Charles Darwin managed both - bless that long bearded Victorian that American God-lovers have come to despise.