Swimming with Whales in Tonga

Whale Watch Vava'u pioneered swimming with the humpback whales in 1993, and we had our first purpose made whale watching boat made that year.

In 2000 we had a second boat, Lulu Tahi, built in New Zealand and today we operate two boats taking a maximum of 8 clients per boat.

In 2001 we instigated the formation of the Tongan Whale Watch Operators Association and were instrumental in developing a set of Guidelines for the licenced operators ensuring maximum exposure with minimal impact. These Guidelines have been refined, with input from the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and are now Regulations passed by the Tongan Government. The Regulations can be downloaded at the Tonga Whale Watching Operators Association.

It is necessary to understand that we do not swim with the whales every day. Weather conditions play a role as safety is a prime concern and we need to find user friendly whales. We are not in the business of dumping people in the water hoping they will catch a glimpse of a whale passing by. We are in the business of encounters and our experience and knowledge of the whales allows us to determine which whale/s we can approach for a successful encounter. We recommend to clients they allow 3 days to ensure that magical encounter.

We also own and operate Mounu Island Resort, Tonga’s first eco-resort, where most days you will see whales playing off the beach.

Whale and swimmer

It's possible to experience magical encounters with the Humpback Whales.

Copyright © Whale Watch Vava'u 2009. Design: Renegade Zen. Photos © Sue Flood.