Jett served as principal underwater photographer on this Ocean Defender – Hawaii’s research expedition whose objective was to conduct research on the particular rhythms and patterns of whale songs in Tahiti’s southern population of Humpback Whales. Ocean Defender – Hawaii has been researching Humpback Whale song patterns in Hawaii to determine why whales sing and how our experience of human music can provide clues. The Tahiti Humpback Whale expeditions is an extension of the research being done in Hawaii to investigate where the two systems of sounds overlap, and where each is unique. Jett is scheduled to return to Tahiti again during whale season in September 2016 to continue this work.
In Tahiti, this research was conducted from aboard the modern Polynesian sailing canoe, Fa’faete. This vessel is 65 feet-long and was a part of a Polynesian fleet of canoes built to travel across the world spreading ocean awareness and conservation. Ocean Defender’s research team were the first non society members who were allowed to overnight on the canoe. While onboard, Jett worked side by side with Fa’faete’s crewmembers and learned how to steer the canoe in open seas using only celestial navigation as we searched for whales between the islands of Pa’paete, Mo’orea and Tetiaroa. During his week onboard, Jett became fully immersed in Tahitian culture and also visited archeological sites on Tetiaroa and also those found in Pa’paete’s Valley of Papenoo.