Responsible Personally-escorted Eco-tours
To increase awareness of the importance of conservation of our marine mammals through groups of people directly experiencing the underwater world of the whales and dolphins for themselves and by supporting research projects around the world.
Our eco-tours take place only in certain areas of our oceans (away from commercial tourism), where these encounters are guided by trained and experienced naturalists insuring that we have the least impact these intelligent mammals as possible and that the whales are honoured and respected at all times and not harassed or invaded in any way.
To extend an invitation to others who are touched by whales and dolphins to join us on our guided encounters, and have the opportunity to personally experience these extraordinary mammals in the wild and realise the vital importance of their survival and the tragic effect their extinction would have on our planet.
To contribute to our oceans becoming a safe place for all marine mammals to continue to live and breed.
To honour and contribute to supporting the local communities socially, economically, environmentally.
Code Of Conduct
- We have a strict policy of working with a variety of accommodation facilities, charter companies, restaurants, taxis, local tour operators, growers etc thus insuring that the local businesses and communities benefit from our personally escorted eco-tours.
- Our tour packages don’t always include a Traditonal Feast and Dance night and craft fair organised by a local village but we highly recommend it to those who have a free evening during their tour. We suggest our guests purchase their arts, crafts and souvenirs at this fair or at the local markets which promotes & encourages the local trade and economy.
- Insure that our suppliers (charter boats owners, resorts & hotels) employ local skippers & guides and other staff whenever possible.
- Our clients are informed on the need to adhere strictly to our waste disposal policies during their time with us. This is to insure that they do nothing to disturb or change the balance in the marine eco-system.
- We have our own environmentally friendly water bottles with we refill each day with UV sterilised rainwater for drinking each day for our guests .
- We supply re-usable plastic lunch boxes to our caterers for lunches each day.
- Local communities and schools are constantly reminded and educated on the need to protect and preserve their culture and the environment as to continually attract tourism.
- We collect humpback whale I.D. photos for the Tongan Fluke Collective in Tonga, the Tahiti Marine-life Research Collective, I.D. photos are donated to research teams in Sri Lanka on eco-tours in each location to support the ongoing research and conservation of the South Pacific Humpback whales, Blue & Orca Whales in the Indian Ocean and the pristine environment in Norway .
- We do not print information brochures, all our information is on our website where information can be downloaded if and when required. All paper in our offices is recycled and we refrain from accepting plastic bags or wrapping whenever possible.
- 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.
- We only work with local suppliers who strictly adhere to the Whale-watching Guidelines in each of our tour locations – that cause little or no negative impact on the various species of whales in the area.
- We encourage our guests to interact with our boat crew, the local families during the feast and dance night, staff at resorts and on any village visits or events where this is possible.
A portion of the profits generated by WhaleSwim Adventures are channeled into various organisations:
The Sea Shepherd Foundation http://www.seashepherd.org
The Vava’u Library hold a Fund-Raising Dinner each year with a Silent Auction. Goods and services are gifted by local businesses and the money raised is funds for this very worthwhile project. The students who have received this funding, give a speech at the end of the evening. There are very few dry-eyes in the room during these speeches. Thanks to Sandra and her Team!
The Diagnostic Laboratory Project – Prince Wellington Ngu Hospital in Vava’u
It was bought to my attention, when a friend of mine, Vika (one of the waitresses who had served our guests at the Mango Café in Vava’u for their Welcome Lunch) was diagnosed with cancer (and sadly, passed away on Sunday 16 October 2011, aged 40,) that all of the services offered at the local Prince Wellington Ngu Hospital in Vava’u, were totally inadequate for even basic health care for the people of Vava’u.
I have (on occasion over 13 years) required the services of the (antique) X-ray machine at the hospital but the week before I left Vava’u, I took the time to visit the Diagnostic Laboratory and was appalled at what I saw!
The biggest challenge is the lack of funds updating and maintaining the equipment and most importantly, the medical supplies, in particular, the reagents, required for diagnostic testing of blood, urine etc for diabeties, cancer, kidney & liver function and other life threatening diseases. The lab technicians, Epi Vaka & Iona Kauvaka (photo left) are both qualified technicians and do the best they can with their outdated technical equipment. They are very dedicated and it was a pleasure to experience their commitment & the passion for the work they do.
The total annual cost for this laboratory to operate is AUD$15,631.00 EXCLUDING freight from Australia, duty and govt taxes.
The Ministry of Health of the Government of Tonga are unable to meet these costs at this time. Funding for continued operation must be obtained elsewhere. At present the laboratory is receiving funds from visiting tourists and from Friends of the Prince Wellington Ngu Hospital Fundraising Committee.
From Rae & the Team. . . .
“Our Heart-felt Thanks to all our generous and caring guests who carried many heavy books, crayons, pens, pencils, stationary and Panadol to Vava’u AND to the teenagers, parents and grandparents who gave their own special jigsaws, books and precious treasures that had bought joy and happiness to them as children. To the many generous Guests who have donated to the Diagnostic Lab Project