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Tonga Photo Series

This week we are launching our new series of inspirational  photos of Tonga showcasing all that this beautiful South Pacific paradise has to offer.


Tonga Stars Milky way

Tongan people

Humpback Whales of Tonga

Coral Reefs in Tonga

Islands of Tonga

Light Beams in Caves

Mariners Cave, Tonga




Welcome to our new improved website

At Swimming with Gentle Giants, we strive to offer the best service possible and we think this should extend to our website and your experience from the first contact with us. so please let us know what you think of the new site. If there is anything missing you would like to see don’t hesitate to let us know.


Tonga 2014 Season collage whales caves light writing

Tonga never ceases to amaze

13 years in Tonga photographing the amazing Humpbacks and this was one of the best seasons yet. In August the water surprisingly cooler and there were a lot more whales closer inside the islands. On at least 3 occasions the whales were right insight the Harbour which happens rarely. Maybe once every 4-5 years. For anyone that has never visited the south Pacific, Tonga is one of those untouched places and still pristine in many respects, clear water, beautiful reefs, stunning caves and the added bonus of a multitude of friendly whales. This year we started the Tongan Fluke Collective, which encourages visiting photographers to donate Fluke shots to help ID the different individual whales that come to Tonga each year. You can find out more about the program here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/tonganflukecollective – Anyway we will be running a number of Photographic tours in the next year or so to various destinations, so stay tuned.

New Born Humpback whale calf

Scott awarded 2nd Place in the General Category at Beneath the Sea 2014

We had this amazing moment with a new born mother and calf last year in Tonga that words cannot describe, this calf was less than a day old, no scratches, marks and still remnants of umbilical cord. it was such a special moment. It is one of thje images showcased at the Beneath the Sea awards this year.

Tonga 2013 whale season collage

The 2013 season has come to an End, but check out what we got up to in the last few months

We had an amazing season in Tonga this year filled with a multitude of mothers and calves and encounters with a number of creatures that were an unexpected surprise. whether we were swimming with Whales, Manta Rays, Blue Marlin, Leopard sharks and even a 15 metre long creature from the deep. Some amazing days on the water and spectacular evenings with all our guests.

We are already looking forward to next season!

Planet Whale Awards Logo

Swimming with Gentle Giants Shortlisted for the 2013 Planet Whale awards

We have been shortlisted for the 2013 Responsible Whale Watch Awards. This is a great honour and we are proud to be recognised for our responsible operation with these amazing creatures.

Check out our testimonials on planet whale here: http://www.planetwhale.com

Facebook Post 30000 likes

30,0000 Likes on our Swimming With Gentle Giants Facebook Page

We have hit a social media milestone today reaching 30,000 fans on our Facebook Page. Thanks to all those loyal followers and passionate whale enthusiasts. As a thankyou for all your support we are giving away some limited release prints of some of these amazing whales. visit our Facebook Page for your chance to own one of these Prints.

Check out our Facebook page for all the up to date news, photos, videos and tips from our Marine biologist in Tonga: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Swimming-With-Gentle-Giants

Renata Bruynzeel with artwork

Humpback inspired artwork from Renata Bruynzeel

On occasion I receive requests from artists who have kindly mentioned that my images of the Humpbacks have inspired them and they would like to create or reproduce the subject in their own unique style. Someone who has done this is Renata Bruynzeel, a local Wollongong artist with a phenomenal talent for creating beautiful wildlife art.

Renata has been to Tonga on several occasions spending time in the water with the Humpbacks. She has a passion for these amazing whales which is indicative of the beautifully crafted artwork you see below.

You never know how an artist will interpret a photographic piece or what to expect, which is the part I find exciting. But as you can see, the end result is spectacular as Renata brings these amazing creatures to life and captures the emotion and passion that she has for all wildlife.

She truly captures the wonderful life-like effects and the awesome beauty and spirit of these gentle giants in their natural environment.

You can see and buy any of her original artworks and prints here: http://www.natureartists.com/renata_bruynzeel.asp

Jacobs Creek Video featuring Scott Portelli

Scott Portelli, featured in the Jacobs Creek, True Character Series

The Jacobs Creek, True Character Series is a collection of stories about inspirational people that have stayed true to dreams, through their passions. I was selected along with several other inspirational, funny, interesting characters from around the world to talk about my passion for whales.

You can watch the True Character series on youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/user/TrueCharacterSeries

A swimmer in front of a huge humpback whale, on tour with Swimming with Gentle Giants

Marine Biologist, Tia Rose joins us in Tonga this year

Joining us this year in Tonga is Tia Rose Marine Biologist and Guide. Not only an expert on whales, she has an extensive knowledge of marine mammals and has been a frequent visitor to Tonga over the last 5 years. Tia has her Master of Science in Wildlife Conservation. She lives on the beautiful island of Maui. When not out exploring the waters of the pacific she works on her blog communicating science and illuminating the issues facing our oceans today by gathering the latest scientific publications and connecting it to policy, human behavior and attitudes to the environment. To view Tia’s research on swimming with whales in Tonga visit her blog:

Check out Tia’s Blog at: http://seaillumination.blogspot.com