VAVA'U, TONGA

WHEN: August 12th-21st, 2020

COST: $5,390 per person  

DEPOSIT: $1,350 per person

GROUP SIZE: 6 people SOLD OUT! 2020 WAITLIST AVAILABLE. Contact me HERE to join.

Nothing else on earth can quite match the feeling of quietly slipping into the water with a 40-ton giant. Every year hundreds of humpback whales migrate to give birth and mate in the warm waters of Tonga. This is one of the few places on the planet where visitors are allowed to enter their watery domain and swim amongst them. August and September are considered the optimal months for visiting as that's when most of the whales are resting in the warm tropical waters. We will be visiting the Vava'u island group, which is considered the best and most popular spot in Tonga to swim with the humpback whales.

We will have 7 private whale swims, each lasting 7-8 hours. We will have one day off in the middle of the trip to relax, visit cultural sites, or edit all the photos and videos you have! 

 

Since Tonga is slightly more challenging country to travel to, we can assist with booking flights and other travel arrangements. We also recommend exploring a nearby country such as Fiji, New Zealand, or Australia since you will likely be flying through one of those destinations anyways.

WHY TOUR WITH ME?

  • Small groups, photo instruction, private chartered boats to ensure you get more time in the water with the whales

 

  • 14+ years of experience out in the wild with a wide variety of wildlife

 

  • Thorough understanding of the biology, ecology, and physiology of humpback whales and other marine life.

 

  • Degrees in both Organismal Biology and Zoology to give up to date information about the wildlife we encounter

  • Deep knowledge and experience with guiding and photographing humpback whales

 

  • I can help arranging flights, transportation, and other side trips before and after (E.g. Fiji)

 

  • 7 whale swims to ensure we get the best possible encounters

 

  • Relaxed trips with little moving and bouncing around from hotel to hotel

HIGHLIGHTS

What you can expect on this trip:

  • Swim with humpback whales 7 times aboard a private vessel ​​

  • Interact with a mother and calf humpback pair

  • Snorkel over coral reefs teeming with life​​

  • Look for other wildlife such as pilot whales, manta rays, dolphins, birds, and sharks

  • Get help with your underwater photography

  • Explore the islands and learn about Polynesian culture

  • Listen to the mysterious songs of the male humpback whales

  • Learn about whales, their mating behaviors, physiology, and more!

COSTS

INCLUDED

 

  • 10 days of photography instruction, whale info, and 7 private whale swims 

  • Lodging

  • Lunch aboard the boat

  • Diving Gear (snorkel, fins, etc.)

  • Transportation to and from hotel

  • Post-processing instruction

 

DOES NOT INCLUDE

 

  • Transportation to Tonga

  • Camera Gear

  • Beverages/Breakfast & Dinner

  • Any extra goods 

  • Single Supplement of 50% 

SUGGESTED GEAR

  • Dive/Snorkel Mask

  • Fins

  • Lightweight wetsuit/rash guard

  • Dive Boots

  • Camera bag capable of carrying gear and daily necessities

  • Underwater Housing

  • GoPro/Action Camera

LODGING

We will all be at the same resort called The Tongan Resort. All rooms are only meters away from the water’s edge and are fitted with ceiling fans with open entrances allowing for a natural sea breeze if desired. Each room has its own covered decked balcony with table and chairs to relax on.​​

Room amenities include a super-king bed, ceiling fans, private bathroom, tea and coffee making facilities, refrigerator, in-room safe, iron and ironing board, hairdryer, beach towel and complimentary bathroom amenities.

 

Unfortunately, due to the extremely limited accommodations and complexity of making sure we are all at the same resort, a 50% single supplement fee will be added on for those hoping to travel alone. We never like having to charge more than the set price per person, but we hope you understand as this is a very special and unique trip!

TRANSPORTATION

You can fly straight into Vava'u with Fiji Airlines via Nadi Int'l Airport in Nadi, Fiji. You can also arrive in Vava'u using Real Tonga Air via Tongatapu Int'l Airport. The quickest way to arrive is to fly to Fiji and then fly in to Vava'u. Both SFO and LAX have daily flights to Fiji. New Zealand Air and Virgin Australia offer flights into Tongatapu from Auckland and Sydney. For help, please message me. 

DINING

Meals (lunch) will be provided via the chartered boats. When we arrive we will head to the main grocery store on the island to pick up any personal supplies and food. There are also a handful of restaurants and cafes in Neiafu for other options. These will be great spots for breakfast and dinners as they are all affordable and offer a nice array of choices to suit any traveler.

MORE TONGA INFO

  • Tonga sits in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean surrounded by Fiji, French Polynesia, and Samoa

  • Tonga is considered a third world country and on the Vava'u Island group, supplies can be limited

  • No vaccinations are required to visit Tonga, but the CDC recommends having your standard vaccinations as well as Hepatitis A and Typhoid shots

  • Tap water should be okay to drink at our hotel, but is not recommended in undeveloped areas

  • Tonga uses their own currency called Tongan Pa'anga (TOP). Most major credit/debit cards are accepted as are US dollars at some institutions 

  • Tonga is made up of 170 islands with the Vava'u being the furthest north. The capital Nuku'alofa sits on the main island of Tongatapu in the south

  • Temperatures during August range between 70-80 °F with ocean temperatures fluctuating between 77-78 °F

  • Tonga is a Polynesian nation with a very Christian demographic, which means no businesses operate on Sundays

2020 TOUR ITINERARY

Wednesday, August 12th: Arrive into Vava'u Int'l Airport, Tonga and proceed to our resort. Before arriving, we will stop off at the grocery store to pick up any personal provisions you might need or want. Spend the afternoon relaxing and getting settled in before having dinner by the water.

 

Thursday, August 13th-Saturday, August 15th: Get picked up by our private vessel at the resort dock around 9AM and head out for a 7-8 hour whale swim. Spend all day out with the whales and have lunch onboard the vessel. We hope to find a mother and calf pair as they tend to move the least and the calves can be quite interactive and playful. We will also look for a heat run where a large group of males chase a female for the right to mate. Arrive back at the resort around 4PM and spend the afternoon relaxing and reminiscing about the experiences we just had. Enjoy dinner at the resort or at a restaurant in town.

 

Sunday, August 16th: In Tonga, it is illegal for businesses to operate on Sunday, so this will be a forced day off, allowing you to have a leisurely day at your own pace. You can relax by the pool at the resort, walk around the island, visit a church where they sing, process some photos from the previous days, or snorkel just off the beach. With all the whale swims we will have had and will have coming up, this is a great day to rest those legs!

 

Monday, August 17th-Thursday, August 20th: Get ready to venture back out into the shallow waters and swim with more whales! Just like the first three days, we will get picked up in the early morning and will spend these four days aboard our private vessel looking for humpbacks. Depending on what we have seen the first day and the weather conditions, we will spend these days looking to see everything we haven't already. Of course, if we find a relaxed mother and calf pair or a friendly whale, we'll spend an ample amount of time with them. Arrive back at resort around 4PM for a quiet afternoon and dinner.

 

Friday, August 21st: Pack up our belongings and check-out of our resort to be taken back to Vava'u International Airport for your departing flight. If time allows, we will stop at a local souvenir store near the resort where you can make your own whale t-shirts! 

REGISTRATION FORM

(2021 pre-registration now available)

By filling out the form above, you are not guaranteed a spot on the trip. If there is space available, then you can immediately reserve your spot with a deposit. I will get back to you within 24 hours to confirm your spot on the trip. 

If you wish to speak to me directly, feel free to call: (425) 301-1757, or email: chasedekker@ymail.com

MORE INFO

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CHASEDEKKER@YMAIL.COM | MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA

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