We woke up to our host banging on our door. “Are you coming?” We had somehow either slept through our alarm or not turned it on, but Dan was quickly up and pulling on his swimmers. During the entire 10 minutes drive to the docks he was busy preparing an arm band for the underwater camera that we had at the time. Little did he know it was all in vain.
He head out with a local fisherman, the boat only holding eight people including the boat owner and the guide, creating a intimate and adventurous atmosphere. You can never predict if you will see whales or not, but today was a good day. The local boatman was visibly excited as they stopped between four different groups of whales.
Tonga is one of the only places in the world where you can swim with Humpback whales. After spotting some whales the boat man would wait a few minutes to allow the whales to become comfortable with our presence, before signalling for everyone to jump in.
Dan jumped into the water and immediately spotted a whale about 15 metres below. Absolutely in awe, he hardly noticed the skipper yelling at him and frantically gesturing at him. He resurfaced to see him yelling in Tongan saying what he quickly pieced together to be GET ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BOAT.
On the other side of the boat was an adolescent humpback whale, just casually watching the swimmers. When Dan broke out of the trance of amazement he realized that his under water camera had somehow died. Not wanting to waste all of this amazing experience fiddling with technology, he decided to forget about it and just enjoy the whales.
Swimming with humpback whales was one of the biggest Bucket List experiences for Dan and something he will never forget. And the camera? Well it started working again as soon as we got back to Australia.
Swimming with Humpback Whales in Tonga
Where can you do it?
Tonga and Dominican Republic the only places where you can get in the water with Humpback Whales. The best place to do it in Tonga is ‘Eua island, which is the most accessible island from the main island of Tongatapu.
How do you get there?
You can get to Tonga by flying direct from either Australia, New Zealand or Fiji. You can get to ‘Eua island by ferry from the main island of Tongatapu, or on the world’s shortest scheduled flight.
How much does it cost?
When we dove in 2012 it costs 200 Tongan Pa’anga which is about 100 USD. The dives are run by the Hideaway Guesthouse, and they will have the most updated prices.
What should I bring?
Make sure you bring a waterproof camera – and hopefully it won’t die likes Dan’s did!