Swimming With Humpback Whales…..Tonga!

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Humpback Whale Calf

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe have been in Tonga for three months now and have seen plenty of whales from our boat. Spouts, breaching and tail slaps. But always from a distance. If you want to get up close and personal, the best chance is to do a whale swim with a tour operator. Tonga is one of the very few places in the world where you get in the water with the whales. It is amazing to see pictures, but the experience is beyond description. It is hard to describe the feeling of being so close to these magnificent animals.

In the first video, the mother is sitting near the bottom and the calf comes to the surface every 10 minutes very close to us. Then back down underneath the mother to be nursed.

In this video, mom and calf are near the surface together (that is Liliane in the pink fins!). The final sequence is another mother and calf swimming together directly below me. You will notice that a large male escort is following behind.

You will also notice the the calf has a lot of scratches. This is caused by the barnacles of the male shoving the calf out of the way to mate with the female. It is tough being a kid.

Mom helping calf to surface

Calf under mom for nursing / protection

After swimming with the whales the tour boat took us to Mariners ‘s Cave. You have to swim under a ledge to end up in a nice cave. Our guide took this picture of Liliane.

Mermaid Liliane

Mike & Liliane

One morning we were woken quite early by the sounds of whales singing close to our boat.We can hear the sounds through the hull. So at 6:45am we got into our wetsuits and jumped in the water. We didn’t see the whales underwater, but we must have been close as we could feel the sound vibrations in our chest. Each year Humpback whales come up with a new song that they all sing. Here is 2015’s greatest hit. Turn up the volume!

While we were recording whale sounds, a sailfish swam over to us. A little blurry, but we captured him. That was almost more amazing than the whales.

Other wonders of the sea, this is a cauliflower jelly fish we found while snorkelling close to our anchorage. They are usually found in very deep water. Somehow this little guy found himself in the shallow end of the pool.

Cauliflower Jelly Fish

While in Tonga, we had a few T-Shirts made with our boat name and the logo that is at the bow of the boat. Liliane had one made that advertises her massage skills to other cruisers.

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New T-Shirts – Good way to advertise

We have been spending time while we are here with our good friends Josef and Renate who own Reef Resort, and their friend Doris. We had a couple of movie nights, as well as a music night. Lots of fun.

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Anchored in front of Reef Resort

We will be leaving for Fiji in a couple weeks, then back to New Zealand mid November.

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