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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Humpback Whales in the Kingdom of Tonga

In the Kingdom of Tonga, one of the few South Pacific countries that was never conolized, we boarded the wonderful liveaboard Nai'a for a ten-day trip to the Humpback Whales in the Ha'apai Group.

We had a fantastic times with many whale sightings both above and below water.

Highlights were when we could spend close to an hour with a mother and her calf. While the mother rested the calf curiously swam up to us and then back to her mother again.

Later we spotted a Heat Run, that is a competition between several males for one female. It lasted over three hours with spectacular displays of tail slapping, pectoral fin slapping and breaching.

To end the perfect trip we had an encounter with four friendly Humpbacks that swam around the boat. We just stayed in the water and waited while they swam by repeatedly. One of them was particularly adventurous and repeatedly showed us his belly, swimming past underneath us on his back.

It was an unbelievable experience, seeing those huge animals navigate effortlessly through the water and even lifting their whole weight of 50 - 80 tons out of the water for spectacular breaches.

In addition to all the whale watching and snorkling we also did a couple of dives. However, diving in Tonga is not as good as other parts in the world, so if we had to choose between diving and whales I always selected the whales (at least after day 3). Nevertheless, we did see some interesting things on the dives. My highlights were Dogtooth Tuna hunting a school of fusiliers and a Corrallimorph Deocrator Crab.

I could go into much more detail what we saw on each day, but Joshua and Amanda, the cruise directors, already did a perfect job of that, so if you are interested what else we saw then I can highly recommend the following blogpost.

All my pictures can be found in this webalbum.

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  • Moin & Bula, David!
    Vinaka vakalevu for your good company on the trip to the Fiji sharks and Tonga whales - we do admire your patience with the German Dive Kindergarten (-:
    Travel safely and enjoy life below and above the waterline!
    Moce, Aloha, Antonia aka Ilisibeta

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:37 AM  

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