Snorkeling With Humpbacks In Tonga
by Brian Heagney
Snorkeling with a mother Humpback with her calf in Tonga.
Snorkeling in the turquoise blue waters of the Ha'apai Islands, Tonga beside a 50 tonne Humpback Whale and her new born baby has to be one of the best snorkeling experiences in the world.
The Ha'apai Islands are in the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga and this is one of the few places in the world where it is possible to snorkel with these gentle giants. Trips depart daily from the main island of Lifuka and the whales are in Ha'apai from the beginning of July to the end of October with August and September being the peak months for sightings.
It is a wildlife experience of course so you should go on a couple of trips to make sure you fulfill your expectations and as always, have a few days spare to allow for bad weather. The whales are totally awesome of course and the chances of getting to swim with them are very high each day but they are free and each one has their own personality. Swimming with them is only possible when they allow it but thankfully they are very curious, particularly the babies, and often approach snorkelers as close as 10 meters.
It is breathtaking and really exhilarating to be beside such a big animal but they are so graceful in the water. Ha'apai also has great quality hard coral reefs that will keep your heart content for as long as you stay. Trips with the whales are boat based and last around six hours with reef snorkeling included.
There is an abundance of tropical reef fish in Ha'apai, the water is very clear, warm, shallow and the reefs are very healthy as the islands don't suffer from mass tourism like some other places.