Happy 50th to me! When Digby asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I said that I would like to go whale watching. Well what I got was a whole lot more, a week in Tonga swimming with humpback whales.
What a once in a lifetime experience! We went with a company called WhaleSwim Adventures which offers tours/accommodation/meals on Vava’u Tonga. This is a small island but a lot of cruise ships dock here for the day.
The whale swims are controlled with only 4 people allowed to swim with the whales at one time. I must admit the first time I was in the water I was in ore of this majestic mammal; it was a new calf the size of a medium sized car. Then you see this big black shadow come up from the deep and mum is there to check out what is going on, she turns and looks at you and I can tell you that I was screaming in my snorkel but it was an exciting and a little scary scream.
Once you get over the size of this creature and realise they are happy for you to be there but keep your distance you can relax and just enjoy the moment. The guides have the utmost respect for the whales and it shows in their job. The following youtube video from Doug Allan explains the experience perfectly.
Another must do on the island is to attend a Tongan church service, the Tongan people are so friendly from singing to you when you get off the plane to their passion for their whales. But to hear them sing at their church service was amazing, I had this surge of joy run through my body and a calm peacefulness settled upon me it was an experience that I won’t forget.
If you would like to add this to your bucket list I would suggest doing it as soon as possible as with all things we are not sure how much longer these trips will be allowed due to the increase in tourism.