Swimming with humpback whales has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. Choosing to go with Scott’s Swimming with Gentle Giants was hands down the best decision I’ve ever made. My expectations were met on the very first day and then exceeded a million times over by the end of the tour. From the moment I arrived till the day I left, everything was well organised and everything I could have ever hoped for.
Every day on the water was breathtaking. One day would be calm waters with inquisitive baby whales, gentle mummy whales and indescribably incredible whale songs, then the next be epic breaches and chaotically intense heat runs. Amongst the countless humpback whale encounters, we also swam with pilot whales, dolphins and hundreds of fish.
In addition to his genuine love for nature and extensive underwater photography experience, Scott is the greatest guy you will ever meet. Having been running these tours for 15 years, Scott an accredited whale swim guide himself is extremely knowledgeable in all things Whales. Both on and off the water, Scott was always happy to make time for the group. In addition to sharing his wealth of photographic knowledge, he also happily assisted with equipment set up, optimal camera settings and post-processing teaching and advice. Furthermore on the rest days he was more than happy to tailer and organise the day around the group whether it be going for a swim, exploring the island or simply relaxing. We even went out exploring late at night to take photos of the stars. Additionally, when I had an incident with one of the airlines, Scott went above and beyond what I would ever expect from anybody to help me out.
The boat and staff were faultless. Having only 4 people on each trip is premium for maximum time in the water. There was always plenty of yummy food available for all and the boat was well equipped for photographers. But the staff on the boat took it to the next level. Their infectiously enthusiastic and friendly attitude made the boat trips exciting and delightful every day. With arguably the best and most experienced whale guides in Tonga, we had incredible experiences time and time again.
I have no hesitations whatsoever in highly recommending Scott Portelli’s SWGG tour. In fact I am already looking into booking a return trip as well as booking in on at least one other of his trips that he offers around the world.