Swim with humpback whales, Tonga

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Responsible tourism: Swim with humpback whales, Tonga

Environment

There are approximately 8,000 Humpback whales that migrate to the 3 island groups of Tonga each year, (Vava'u has about 70% of the whales population in their waters). During our days on the water, we endeavour to allow as many in-the-water encounters as possible without harassing the whales. Some days we may only witness surface activity other days we may experience in-the-water encounters, as weather and tides are believed to effect the behaviour of the whales and where they 'hang out'.

We ask you to fully appreciate that to have an opportunity to swim with humpback whales is rare, very unique and a precious gift. We strictly abide by the Tongan Whale-Watching Regulations therefore there is always only four people plus the guide in the water with the whales at one time.

When whale-watching:
Cease contact at any sign of whales, particularly mothers and calves, becoming distressed or alarmed.

Allow the whales to control the nature and duration of the encounter
Whales may leave an area if continually disturbed
Respect the marine environment
Do not throw rubbish or other objects into the water
Dumping rubbish, particularly plastics, can kill whales and other sea life through accidental swallowing or entanglement.

If whale-watching from land, remain within established footpaths and lookout points, protect the environment, e.g. don't trample vegetation, minimise noise levels and don't swim to the whales from shore.

As a strict policy, we believe in training and retraining of staff and volunteers alike to ensure that they are acquainted with contemporary issues involved in providing safe, informative, educative, life changing and sustainable tourism.

Community

To only work with local suppliers who strictly adhere to the 'Whale-watching Guidelines of Tonga - that cause little or no negative impact on the humpback whales in the area.

To encourage our guests to interact with the local families during their time in Tonga and offer opportunities such as Tongan-owned and operated accommodation, attending feast and dance nights and on any village visits or events where this is possible.

To donate a portion of the profits generated by WhaleSwim Adventures each year to 'Friends of Prince Wellington Ngu Hospital' in Neiafu Tonga for much needed supplies for their diagnostic laboratory. Some of our guests generously donate to this cause also.

To ask our guests to bring vital educational and stationery supplies, such as books, pens. pencils, calculators, etc for the Vava'u Library Fund for underprivileged 'bright' students in Vava'u and childrens reading books, crayons, pencils colouring books etc for the English speaking kindergardens.

We ask our guests to bring discarded eye glasses from family and friends for the people of Vava'u as there are no opticians or eye doctors available locally.

Reviews of Swim with humpback whales, Tonga

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 07 Sep 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Snorkelling with Humpback Whales

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Tonga is a backpacking destination. Be aware that taxi drivers may over charge if you don't check the fare with them first! Bring insect repellent and bite cream for when it doesn't work!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, we stayed at an eco-tourist resort and spent money in local shops when possible.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Very good.

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