Every year from mid July to mid October the serene islands of Ha'apai provide safe haven for one of mother nature´s most captivating creations - the majestic Humpback Whales. Tonga is one of only a few countries in the world where you are allowed to actually swim with Humpback Whales, and with our guides and the tropical paradise of Ha'apai it is simply the most beautiful and tranquil place to do it. The whales come from the Antarctic to the calm warm waters of Ha'apai to breed, birth and socialise. Mothers spend the time until their departure, nursing their young and courting a potential mate. It’s a very important and sensitive time in their annual cycle and the most exciting time to watch and interact with them.
Every day of whale watching is different with a vast array of interesting behaviour to witness - from the "blow" shaped like a love heart, a graceful spy hop, powerful fin or fluke slaps to continual full body breaching and inquisitive approaches to the boat. Using our hydrophone (waterproof microphone) we can sometimes listen to their magical love songs even when they are out of sight. Swimming with the Humpback Whales is the ultimate marine experience, even life changing for some. So come with us, strap on your mask and fins and glide into the blue for your experience of a lifetime swimming with Tonga's Humpback Whales!.
Our whale watching trips depart at 8.30 am from the main wharf in Pangai. For your safety you will be informed about the vessel, whale behaviour and how we conduct swimming with the whales then begin our search for the playful giants. Depending on the events of the day, we will have lunch at anchor, allowing you to snorkel on one of Ha'apai's wonderful coral reefs, or on a beach of one of the many islands. The afternoon will be spent looking for more whales before we make our way back home around 2.30 pm.
We use a fully licensed and professional whale swim operator who strives to swim on every trip. However, be aware that whales are wild animals and you will be observing them in their natural environment. Swimming may or may not be possible depending on the whales' behaviour, their reaction to us and the weather conditions. Only 4 swimmers, plus a guide, are allowed in the water with the whales at any one time. The boats we use carry up to 8 people so you should expect to take turns with the whale swims. These are kept short enough though so that everyone gets as much time with the whales as is possible and responsible. A Premium Whale Swimming option is available which guarantees that you go into the water on every swim and don't need to sit any out on the boat.
We are only visitors in their realm and their welfare is our primary concern, always adopting a soft, respectful approach during our encounters. If the whales show signs of being disturbed, we cease contact and continue our search for whales that are more in tune to interacting with us. That being said, our experience with the whales combined with our careful approach technique usually result in exhilarating in-water encounters that leave our guests with unforgettable whale moments in Ha'apai.
Each boat trip includes complete snorkelling gear, a fresh, home-made lunch, tea, coffee and refreshments, with trained professionals to make your day safe, informative and enjoyable.