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And that’s a wrap – 2018 Whale Swimming season

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Sadly the season has come to an end for us here in Tonga, but 2019 is just around the corner and the whales will be back. and we will be back from July next year sharing these experiences with the whales yet again. with all the things we saw this season it was hard to just limit it to 1 recap, so here is Part 2 full of Heat runs, breaching whales, mothers and calves, Manta rays, coral reefs, simply paradise. Hope you love this place as much as we do and hope you can join us in the future.

Another amazing season in Tonga

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It’s almost that time of the year again where we start to wrap up our adventures and say goodbye to the whales and the wonderful people we have met along the way, for another year. It has been full of excitement, magical moments, new adventures and not to mention the big beautiful whales that encompass our lives. We swam with Sunfish (Mola Mola), Pilot whales, danced with manta rays, played with Spinner, Rough tooth and Bottlenose dolphins, and swam with the most majestic gentle giants of the ocean, the Humpback whales. hope you enjoy our Recap -Part 1. stay tuned for Recap Part 2 in the next few weeks.

Waterproof Expeditions and Swimming with Gentle Giants join forces

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In 2019 Waterproof Expeditions and Swimming with Gentle Giants join forces to bring you some new and exciting expeditions in Tonga. with over 17 years taking people to swim with humpback whales in Tonga combined with Waterproof Expeditions who are experts in adventure and expedition travel around the world, this venture see’s us offering some of the best experiences with whales you could ever imagine.

Just released for 2019, new tours to swim with the humpback whales in Tonga:

12th – 19 July – Tour #2 – 7 Days on the water
20th – 27th July Tour #3 – 7 Days on the water

9th – 16th August – Tour #4 – 7 Days on the water
20th – 27th August – Tour #5 – 7 Days on the water

1st – 8th October – Tour #6 – 7 Days on the water
9th – 16th October Tour #7 – 7 Days on the water
17th – 24th October Tour #8 – 7 Days on the water

Contact us for more information on how you can join one of these amazing trips.



Art of Capturing a Heat Run awarded at Natures Best, Windland Smith Rice International Awards 2018

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‘The Art of Capturing a Heat Run” has been selected as Highly Honored at the prestigious Natures Best, Windland Smith Rice International Awards 2018. This impressive display from multiple humpback whales in a competitive group, filmed from above and below the surface was a dynamic sequence to document. I jumped in the water over 20 times while being witness to some of the most powerful creatures in the animal world. truly an honour to be recognised at such a prestigious awards event.

Another year with the lovely Bucketlist Family

One of my favourite times of year in Tonga is when Garrett and his family turn up for their annual pilgrimage to swim with the whales. I love the enthusiasm and connection they have with the whales. their latest v-blog really captures the essence of their last trip here with  us in Tonga. Can’t wait to see you guys again next season. I love this video!!

Baby Whale Breach

You never know what to expect when you are out on the water in Tonga with the Humpback whales. We had this rambunctious calf propel itself out of the water at full speed and breach in front of our group. Truly a memorable moment.

Check out the feature from USA Today


A Tail in the air wins the Asferico International Nature Awards

We experienced some unique behaviour with this female Humpback last season and I managed to capture an interesting perspective showing the enormous tail and body above and below the surface. This image was awarded at the Asferico International Nature awards in the underwater category in 2018. We can learn so much from documenting unique behaviour from these majestic mammals. check out some of the talented photographers and their inspiring works of nature at the Asferico awards.

Tonga Whale Swim – Availabilities 2019

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Although we may be fully booked for the 2018 season, you can still join us on one of our tours in 2019, below are the available dates for the 2019 season.

Tour 1A – 12th -20th July (8 day) – Fully Booked
Tour 1B – 22nd – 31st July (8 day) – Fully Booked
Tour 2 – 1st Aug – 9 th August (7 Day) – Fully Booked
Tour 3 – 12th Aug – 22nd August (8 Day) – Fully Booked
Tour 4 – 23rd Aug -1st Sept (8 Day) – Fully Booked
Tour 4H – 2rd Sept – 14th September (8 Day) – Haapai – Limited Spaces available
Tour 5 – 4th Sept – 13th Sept (8 Day) – Vava’u – Fully Booked
Tour 6 – 16th Sept – 26th Sept (8 Day) – Fully Booked
Tour 7 – 30th Sept – 8th Oct (8 Day)  – Fully Booked
Tour 7H – 27th Sept – 6th October (8 day) – Limited Spaces available
Tour 8 – 9th Oct – 18th October (8 Day) – Fully Booked

Contact us for more details or to book your 2019 tours.

a Mel O Drama

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So, I had the privilege of hosting the 2017 Rolex scholar Melinda Brown for a month in Tonga. As part of her year long program she joined us for a month to work with me on the Tongan Fluke Collective, some coral gardening projects and plastic pollution education, oh and of course she came to swim with the whales. The time went fast but we did so much and I am glad she had the opportunity to join the Swimming With Gentle Giants family.

Check out her blog on the Our World Underwater Scholarship Society


The Art of a Heat Run

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The heat run is the ultimate wildlife encounter, multiple whales competing for a female which can last for hours or even days. Males show a multitude of behaviours while in a heat run: bubble netting, open mouth gulping, physical contact, loud acoustic sounds, it is truly one of nature’s great events. After 16 years I have documented some of the most common and unusual behaviour seen by Humpbacks in the region, but it is truly heart-thumping and adrenaline-pumping action to be a part of. There is so much people can learn from this type of behaviour or in its simplest form, there is so much they can appreciate and respect once they see something like this. Stay tuned for my paper called 1000 days in water observation and behavioural study of Humpback whales of Tonga.