Why book a package?
These are natural, unscripted encounters. Giving yourself only one or two days to swim with whales will lead to disappointment if you don’t see any. It takes time to find the whales and, once we do, we must determine if they want to stay and play with us. Not all whales want to interact. Some are on the move, or maybe they just don’t feel like it. So we leave these whales alone. This process can take all day.
We generally get in the water with whales almost everyday, it really comes down to the quality of those swims. We aim to get 1-2 quality swims on a 5 swim day trip, and 3-4 quality swims on a 8 swim day trip. A high quality encounter to us is one that lasts over 10 minutes and is in close proximity to a set of whales.
We’ve got to account for the weather. It’s winter in Tonga, which means it can sometimes be cold, rainy and windy. You don’t want to come all this way and then find out that the two swim days you booked are rainy and windy. Bad weather could negatively affect the quality of your day. Especially if you want to grab photos or videos, then lighting can become an issue as well. Water temp is roughly 25/26C throughout the season.
It’s important to focus on the quality of the encounter. Yes, you can go for a day or two and get lucky with an amazing encounter. But at the end of the day, the longer you spend on the water, the more likely you will have some mind-blowing experiences.
Consider the quality of the operator. There are only 15-20 boats out there, so most of them get booked out by tour agents like us. This leaves very few boats for “day trippers.” It is very hard to find a quality operator, as swimming with whales is an art. As the years progress, you will find it quite difficult to get a day tripper booking with a quality, skilled, licensed operator in Vava’u.
- Hot Breakfast
- Lunch and snacks on water days (gluten free & vegan available on request)
- Highly qualified boat, skipper, accredited whale guides
- Daily snorkeling in caves and on reefs (whale swims are prioritized)
- Return transport from VAV airport to your accommodations
- Photography/Video and post editing advice from award winning photographer Nadia Aly
- Smiles & fun
- Small groups
- Packages that include accommodation
- Quality guides, skippers and boats
- Photo & Video advice from a PRO
Whale season in Vava’u is mid-July through October. Some days are sunny; some days are cloudy. The weather is warm, but you’ll want to bring a wind jacket to keep you comfortable on the boat. Water temperature is around 77 F (25 C).
Vava’u, in our opinion, is the best place in the world for in-water encounters with humpback whales. Only snorkeling is allowed with the whales as they don’t like divers’ bubbles, and it’s hard to keep up with whales on SCUBA. The topography of the islands allows us to work in most conditions, excluding intense weather days of course.
We will go out and swim with the whales in most conditions; the weather and seas don’t seem to affect the whales at all. We search for the whales in calm, sheltered bays, open sea — pretty much wherever the day takes us!