When you spot the first sign of a whale for the trip, the blow, the very reason why I came to Tonga became very clear- I was going to swim with the humpback whales! After the excitement of spotting a whale’s blow, we were then informed by our guide, Scott that we had to get our fins, masks and snorkels on…the time had come! The first time you slip into the water and see these amazing, majestic mammals ‘dancing’ as it swims right by you, sometimes rolling onto it’s side to satisfy their curiosity and take a look at us, I couldn’t believe what was happening, that these 15m animals could be so graceful, so curious and yet so comfortable with our presence.
On other sightings, lone males blow and the show their flukes as they dive deep for many minutes at a time. This provided an opportunity to hear Humpback whale song first hand just by bring in the water. Hearing this unique singing was incredible and feeling the vibrations passing through your body is indescribable. For those people in our group who didn’t want to get into the water didn’t miss out as a hydrophone was placed into the water (but when the water is a beautiful 25-27 deg cel, I couldn’t help but jump in the water at every opportunity!).
Another day we had a calf repeatitively breaching within about 30m of the boat and just when we thought it couldn’t possibly get any better, the mother breached…we were speechless! the calf finished off the ‘show’ with another breach and then they continued swimming by.
I’ve been fortunate to have seen the humpbacks numerous times along the NSW coast, but to have an experience like this, there is nothing like it! Thanks Scott and the experienced Tongan skipper and crew for enabling me to experience these amazing mammals and the other marine animals we came across (pilot whales, spinner dolphins and common dolphins and a manta ray) and great snorkelling locations for our lunch break. I can’t wait to travel back to Tonga and do it all over again!