Thursday, October 22, 2015

Whale swim

One of the biggest attractions in Tonga is the humpback whales.  As we already mentioned, we saw a lot of them in the Ha'apai group (http://www.svgoodasgold.ca/2015/09/this-time-of-year-humpback-whales-have.html).  They come to Tonga to mate and to give birth, there are lots of female humpbacks with their calves.

In Vava'u, there are a number of boats that are allowed to take people out to swim with the humpbacks. They have to follow a number of rules in order to not disturb the whales.  We talked to people who had done it, and they all had rave reviews.  That convinced us that it was worth doing.

We hopped on our tour boat and motored out to find some whales.  It was getting late in the season, but we found a mother and calf.  We went into the water in groups of 4 (plus guide) and had to swim about 100 m (100 yards) to get near the whales (the boat isn't allowed to get too close).

We swam near the whales and saw the mom submerged below us. The baby would come up for a breath near us and head back to mom. WOW!!!  After a while the mom finally came up for a breath. OMG - WOW!! By this time we had been in the water for our allotted time so we went back to the boat and gave other people a turn.

We know people who went during the high season and they got to swim about 7 times.  Due to the time it took us to find the whales, we only went in twice but it was still awesome!

We had good weather the day we went, but thanks to the rain from the previous days there was a lot of silt in the water and visibility wasn't the best for photos.
Baby whale coming up for a breath

Mom and calf heading away from us

Mom swimming with calf