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Email us: tours@whaleswim.com

Reviews etc

Trip Advisor Reviews:

“For our second time snorkeling with humpbacks, we chose to go with WhaleSwim Adventures in Tahiti. The whole team was very attentive and professional, from pre-trip suggestions, to excellent service in-country with the whales, to courteous post-trip refund adjustment. We liked Tahiti over Tonga because the flights were direct (with a short ferry to Moorea) and the boat rides to the whales were short. The whales were similar in both places. The guides and boat captain diligently worked hard to get us on whales and get good photos. We bought the optional personal video, expensive but high quality and worth it! If we do whales again we will definitely travel with WhaleSwim, and I enthusiastically recommend everyone add snorkeling with whales to their bucket list.”

“I cannot express how wonderful my experience was with whale swim! The accommodations were really nice. From the coordination of the trip before going all the way through arriving at the hotel, we had no worries the whole time and everything was taken care of. Annah and Michael were our guides and they were so fantastic! They made sure our safety was priority and of course assuring we had the best oceanic adventure with swimming with whales! Helping with our gear, giving us tips, planning everything ahead of time, etc. Rain or shine that is their priority. We were able to have some unforgettable experiences with whales and we couldn’t have had the experience we did without our skipper Noa as well. His knowledge of how to spot the whales is a science and so unique. The whole crew worked really hard to make sure we had an unforgettable time and they were very respectful and conscious of the whales safety as well. On the slower days we also had unforgettable times exploring different areas and one of my favorite moments was eating our packed lunches in a picturesque spot you could only dream of. The people were fantastic and happy to say probably life long friends. Everyone got along great and had a wonderful time. The team really puts your experience as a priority and we are looking forward to book with this company again as soon as we can make another trip happen. I highly recommend whale swim to everyone.”

Whale Swim!

Swimming with whales is such an incredible experience and WhaleSwim Adventures has been taking people to swim with the whales for 21 years now!

The dream of snorkelling with these amazing beings began in 1999, with the first WhaleSwim Adventures with humpback whales tours in Vava’u, Tonga. We loved the whales and these wonderful, unspoiled tropical islands and so did our guests, with many leaving as champions for our whales and our oceans and returning time and time again.  WhaleSwim took the dream to beautiful Moorea, Tahiti in 2016 to great success. Next was swimming with orca in the stunning fjords of Norway (just completed our 3rd season there!) and now we have our newest whale swim adventure, Swim with Blue Whales in Sri Lanka!

This is an affair of the heart.  We just love these majestic whales and the fact that they will allow us to swim with them, sometimes for extended periods, is amazing and always so moving. The magical Pacific islands of Tonga and Tahiti are still so unspoiled, Sri Lanka is a cultural feast and we have swum with the largest animals that have ever lived and with sperm whales there. Norway is a much different adventure, colder and more challenging but meeting the orca is life changing and the Arctic landscapes are breathtaking.

WhaleSwim Adventures are specialists in the swimming with whales field. We offer personally escorted package tours with a minimum of 5 days whale watching because we know that being out for multiple days with the same group of people allows you to learn how to best be with the whales and allows us to maximise your chances of great encounters. We also make sure that we only use the best boats and our skippers have years of whale watching experience and a passion for these magnificent marine mammals. Our Tonga, Tahiti and Sri Lanka tours offer great beachfront accommodation, excellent meal packages and domestic transfers. WhaleSwim Adventures works with local people and we support local businesses.

Save the great whales and save the planet!

Whales are eco system engineers, they maintain the health and stability of the oceans and can literally slow down climate change.
Their nutrient rich fecal plumes (poop) fertilize phytoplankton in the surface waters and stimulate more growth.
Phytoplankton absorbs Carbon out of the atmosphere and when it sinks to the bottom of the ocean it takes that carbon out circulation for thousands of years.
Simply put: 
more whales =more phytoplankton 
more phytoplankton = more animal plankton = more fish in the ocean
AND  more phytoplankton = more carbon drawn out of the atmosphere.

They also store carbon in their own bodies and when they die each whale carcass will take around 190,000 tons of carbon (equivalent to 80,000 cars) to the ocean floor and out of circulation. Let’s save the whales and save ourselves and the planet too!

WhaleSwim Adventures has been in the Media all over the world!

We have had numerous Film Crews and Travel Journalists join us over the past 21 year!

Film Crews:
From the Australian TV ‘Getaway’ travel program 2006 (watch it at the bottom of our Tonga tour page Tonga Humpback Tours 2020) to the amazing Nat Geo/Canon Australia 2015 documentary series ‘Tales By Light’ showcasing the best photographers in the world – Series I – Episode I was flimed by Abraham Joffe, Untitled Films of Darren Jew in Vava’u, Tonga. Can be seen on both YouTube or Netflix.

Travel Journalists: We have hosted travel journalists: Victoria Clark New Zealand “North South” magazine 2008 + Maggie Shipstead (cameraman Shawn Fennessy) from US ‘Travel & Leisure’, + Klaus Thymann from New York Times Magazine – (see editorials below) to name just a few. . .

Join us!

  • Our Tonga whale swim  Tahiti too – is amazing!  Come whale swimming with us!
  • Tonga whales are now about about 10,000! The majority ‘hang out’ around the 50 northern islands of Vava’u!
  • Tahiti whale swiming – most of this population hang our in Moorea, Tahiti!
  • Many people want to swim with whales tonga !
  • Tonga whale diving – in Tahiti too!
  • want to be eye-to-eye with a tonga whale? Join us!
  • swim with whales tonga or tahiti in 2020?
  • tahiti & tonga humpback whales are very friendly!
  • swimming with whales tonga tahiti is a life-changing experience!
  • whale swim tonga and also in tahiti
  • swim with humpback whales tonga  – in Vava’u and Moorea in Tahiti
  • free diving with whales tonga or tahiti ? Only if you are an experienced free-diver!
  • Its known as the ” tonga swim with whales capital of the world “? Tahiti is the hidden secret!
  • Humpbacks are known as the ‘ majestic whale ‘ – we agree!!

More Trip Advisor Reviews:

“We are a family of 5 (kids are in their 30s), and we’re regular ocean goers with a love of aquatic creatures. When we saw this opportunity to swim with humpback whales in Tahiti, we jumped at the chance. Owner Rae, Tour Leader Sabri, Boat Captain Maire, First Mate Teri’i and Chefs Barbara and Hans went out of their way to make this the dream trip we had hoped for. We were in the water with humpbacks everyday, with absolutely incredible encounters, all captured by Sabri’s lens. The food was very impressive, especially the candle lit gourmet dinners looking out over the beautiful bay, and the Moorea Beach Lodge was a charming, authentic hotel RIGHT at the water’s edge, in a very secluded and gorgeous area of the island. We visited the large resorts on the island for cocktails and lunch, and we were so glad we were staying at the lodge instead of the contrived, touristy resorts. Moorea is not a place to go if you are looking for impeccable five star accommodations (the resorts are far from it), but Moorea Beach Lodge is a place to go for a laid back, authentic and comfortable stay on this unspoiled island. The whales are the real stars of this trip, and we’ll never forget our very special time with them and everyone associated with WhaleSwim. I would not hesitate to recommend WhaleSwim Adventures for the most unbelievable adventure of a lifetime!”

“We booked with whale swim adventures to go on 8 days of whale swimming and it was just brilliant, everyone is supportive and friendly and they really make sure you are looked after as well as get good experiences.
Swimming with whale is amazing, the water is very clear and warm and it is just magical.
The lodges where you stay and beach are also very beautiful and comfortable, there are activities and small shops close by – the island itself is truly like something out of a magazine.
I can’t recommend this tour provider or tour enough and plan to use them again in the future, it was without doubt the trip of a lifetime :)”

Photo: CaliforniaMillers and JoDmatt13 plus Anna and our WhaleSwim Team!

Sri Lanka  swimming with blue whales. . . . . swimming with sperm whales

 

 

 

 

Swimming with Orca in Norway!

– whale swimming – humpbacks whales – liveaboard – fjords – swim with orcas and humpbacks

 

 

 

EDITORIALS

Fabulous story about us in Travel & Leisure!

America’s ‘Travel & Leisure’ magazine. . . 14 December 2016
by Maggie Shipstead   Images by Shawn Fennessy

“Swimming With Whales in Tonga”

The waters of the South Pacific are the domain of some of the world’s largest creatures—and a place where, sometimes, beauty can conquer fear.

A confession: I’ve always been afraid of deep water. Like most phobias, mine isn’t entirely rational. It’s not about drowning, exactly, or being eaten by a sharp-toothed creature, although that wouldn’t be ideal. It’s more about not knowing what’s below me, about darkness and emptiness and my own insignificance.

And yet there I was, floating in the open ocean, peering down through a snorkel mask into water hundreds of feet deep. Above the surface there was wind and swell, blowing spray, gray sky. In the distance were the limestone cliffs and tousled coconut palms of Vava’u, an archipelago of 61 islands within the Kingdom of Tonga, itself a collection of 176 islands scattered across approximately 260,000 square miles of the South Pacific. Beneath the surface, there was stillness, vastness, silence. There was the saturated cobalt blueness of the Tongan waters, and there was a mother humpback whale 50 feet below, resting with her calf tucked under her.

The sight was both familiar and alien. I’d seen countless humpbacks on television and IMAX screens, gazed up at life-size replicas hanging from the ceilings of natural-history museums, even caught glimpses of flukes and fins from whale-watching boats. But now I was floating above a 40-ton, 50-foot-long animal with a beating heart and a mind full of unfathomable instincts and impulses. The white edges of her pectoral fins and fluke glowed bright aqua. The rest of her was a massive charcoal shadow, suspended in space.

Nisi Tongia, a local guide who works for New Zealand–based WhaleSwim Adventures, gripped my wet-suited upper arm, anchoring me against the current. We formed a loose cluster with three other swimmers—five of us in all, the maximum number legally allowed in the water so as to avoid crowding the whale. Because scuba diving with the whales is not permitted, we had only snorkels and fins.

This was our first of seven days in the water with WhaleSwim Adventures, a tour operator that has led recently expanded to Tahiti (humpbacks) and Sri Lanka (blue and sperm whales). The company offers only multi day trips, a policy intended to give swimmers time to get used to the whales and to avoid pressuring guides into forcing encounters. Sometimes, though, while sitting on the boat’s swim platform, my fins dipping in and out of the wake as I craned around to see columns of vapor sent up by exhaling whales, I did find myself caught up in a certain hectic energy, an Ahab-like thrill of pursuit. The challenge of finding whales is part of what makes encountering them meaningful, but because the quest can be so unpredictable (big ocean, swift wild animals), swimming with these creatures is an activity I can’t recommend for control freaks.

On this drop, everything was going according to plan. A pale face, small by whale standards and studded with the wart like tubercles characteristic of humpbacks, peeked out from under After a moment the calf emerged and glided upward, nose to the light, eye trained on us, inspecting. A clutch of remoras, or suckerfish, clung to his underside, and his white belly was grooved with expandable ventral pleats that would, in adulthood, help him filter up to one and a half tons of krill a day. For now, he was consuming only milk, while his mother ate nothing. The warm, protected Tongan waters provide safety during the whales’ birthing and breeding season, but no sustenance. In a few weeks, this pair would turn south, toward their Antarctic feeding grounds.

The calf took a breath, rolled languidly onto his side, and started wiggle-swimming in our direction.

Click here to read more

America’s ‘New York Times Magazine . . . 14 February 2017

‘Floating With Leviathans in the South Pacific’

Pilot and humpback whales congregate in Tonga to raise their newborn calves.

The first few days, we didn’t see a single whale. But you get a long way with determination. We saw a group of pilot whales first — seeing them is very rare. They’re fast and about twice the length of humans. The next day, we saw a few humpbacks. They did a swim-by, which is like a minute in real time but felt like an eternity in the water. Later that day, I saw a mother and her calf, between 4 and 5 weeks old. It seemed as if he was looking at me. He was really curious, and he came so close that I couldn’t keep him in one frame. The mother stayed out of the frame. I don’t think she saw me as a threat.

We had a really magical moment the next day when nine whales had a heat run. A lot of male whales blow huge bubbles to show off. All you can do is hold your breath; I did a free-diving course to train for this. At one point, there were eight males showing off for one female. If you have ever wondered what it would be like to be as small as a mosquito, that was it for me. All of a sudden, whales are coming from the left and the right. We decided that I would just shoot while my swimming partner, Falanisi Tongia, whale-guide for WhaleSwim Adventures, pulled me in the direction I wanted to go. The whales were breaching and changing direction and slapping their tails. The tail that propels the whale has an immense power; I was wearing a full-body wet suit with the idea that if I was knocked unconscious, I would float.

 – AS TOLD TO JAIME LOWE

  • PHOTOGRAPHER
    Klaus Thymann
  • TOUR COMPANY
    WhaleSwim Adventures – www.whaleswim.com
  • DESTINATION
    Vava’u, Tonga
  • ABOUT
    The South Pacific archipelago of Vava’u, which consists of 61 islands, is an annual stop each fall for migrating pilot and humpback whales and their newborn calves.

This story is online at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/02/24/magazine/voyages-pilot-humpback-whales-tonga.html