Humpback whales of Tonga
Humpback whales of Tonga

Vava’u in Tonga in South Pacific is one of those few places in the world that offer splendid opportunity to swim with the humpback whales.

Migrating whales:

The humpback whales migratke from their feeding grounds in the Antarctic to the warm islands of Tonga each winter for mating and producing calves. About 450 whales migrate each year. They stay in and around the archipelagos of Tonga from July till about late October and return all the way to the Antarctic (8,000 odd km) during the summer. It is during their arrival and stay at Tonga (particularly the Vava’u islands) that thousand of tourists throng here to spot the gentle giants.

Swimming with the whales:

Even though the mission is same, to swim with the whales, but tourists would agree that each day is different. Some day, one gets to swim with a pregnant female while with the mother and its calves on another day. Yet on some other time, one can hear the humpbacks’ haunting song and it indeed is an experience to gather. Even the moment when a group of male humpbacks swirl around the boat is worthy to be captured in an audio or video camera. The encounter may be a short or long one but whatever the duration, it will be a lifetime one. Whale swimming tours are available between July and October. Weather and tides on a given day much affect the whale’s behavior. Hence the success of the tour is subjective to nature.

Whale watching excursions:
  • Sailing Safaris
  • Endangered Encounters
  • Melinda Sea Adventures
  • Whale Watch Vava’u
  • Vava’u Adventures
Tips during whale watching:
  • Do not panic at the sight of the whales
  • Allow the whales to control the time and nature of the meeting
  • Patience is key to make the encounter fruitful. The mother might try to block your path in a bid to cover its calf or the younger ones may approach to quench its curiosity.
  • Do not disturb the creatures as that could force them to leave early
  • Respect the marine environment and do not litter
  • Do not swim towards the whales from the shore
Facts about humpback whales:
  • Humpbacks are baleen whales and have hundreds of dark baleen ‘plates’ hanging from each side of their upper jaw and they use it to filter huge amounts of water for food.
  • These whales are known as ‘Humpback’ for their distinctive way of arching back before sounding.
  • The whales propel with their massive tail, which is often seen above the surface of the water.
  • The whales mate in the calm waters from June to November. The male humpbacks also sing and their song varies with locational change.
Tonga activities:
  • Explore Mariners and Swallows Cave
  • Snorkel the coral reefs
  • Walk the sandy beaches
Reaching Vava’u:

By air:
Reach Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tonga located in Tongatapu and from there to Vava’u in domestic flights operated by Chathams Pacific. No international or domestic flights operate in Tonga on Sundays.

  • Adventure Backpackers
  • Vava’u Guest House
  • Mala Island Resort
  • Tapana Island Resort
  • Puataukanave International Hotel
  • Hilltop Hotel
  • Twin View Motel

Check more infos about this fantastic destination here

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