8-day Expert Led Tonga Whale Swims

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Swimming with whales in Tonga was the most unique and wonderful experience! It was exhilarating enough just dropping over the side of the boat into the dark ocean swell but when we looked below, on our first swim, and saw two huge, majestic whales moving together so gracefully it was like watching an underwater ballet. Just marvellous to see and really unbelievable. Dave and his underwater guide, Eli, were wonderful – expert, delightful and excellent at spotting whales! - Juliet Ferguson, Victoria (Sep, 2016)


2017 On Sale Now!

Join one of the most affordable dedicated whale swim trips in the Kingdom

Price includes:

  • Ethical whale swims
  • Expert guiding and presentations
  • Clean, secure accommodation
  • Airport transfers
  • Chef-cooked meals
The main island of Tongatapu is only a short flight from Sydney. Within a few hours of your departure, we can be picking you up for what will certainly be one of the most memorable trips of a lifetime.

List of inclusions | Compare our product.


2017 trips are selling fast

  • August 3 - August 10
  • August 10 - August 17 [RESERVED Dolphin Research Institute]
  • August 17 - August 24 [RESERVED - UK Free Divers] 
  • August 24 - August 31 Photography Tour, $4,555. Maximum 6 guests
  • August 31 - September 7 [RESERVED Darling Magazine] 
  • September 7 - September 14 
  • September 14 - September 21 [Outer Edge Magazine BOOK HERE]
  • September 21 - September 28
  • September 28 - October 5 

BOOK NOW


Image by Image by Juliet Ferguson

Image by Image by Hylton Wess

Image by Image by Jess Cripps

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Testimonials

Best trip of my life, great diving and awesome fish, can’t wait to go back. Thanks Dave and the BWE crew - Sam Morgan

Amazing crew all round! So passionate and caring about whales. Skipper Dave was extremely knowledgeable about whales, guides very knowledgeable about local area and reefs and were very confident and made us feel very at ease - Mikala Peters, Wildlife Coast Cruises

Incredible and way better than I anticipated, particularly being in the water with a singing whale was a highlight for me - Carlos Olavarria, Marine Mammal Scientist

Unforgettable experience... From the moment we arrived we felt part of the extended Blue Water family. The local boat crews are fabulous & lots of fun & always willing to help out. The boat is very comfortable and especially suited for whale watchers. Swimming with the whales was an experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life - Kirsty Faulkner

Our Guarantee to You

Our itineraries, inclusions and exclusions, are clearly stated. We use a specially-designed vessel, a uniquely qualified driver/guide (one of, if not the, most experienced and qualified in the whole of the Kingdom) and employ standards of ethical practice beyond standard rules, which guarantee longer and more engaging experiences.

On price, we are one of the least expensive trips and without the need for internal transfers, can provide 5 full days of whale swims for a week's holiday, plus two days spare for relaxation / cultural tours. This makes us the obvious choice for anyone who is looking for a hassle-free extended break, maximising whale swim time at minimal cost and operated to a high standards of ethical practice.

More About Us

MV Blue Water Explorer

MV Blue Water Explorer is a custom-designed 9 metre, fibreglass coated, wooden hulled vessel. She is fitted with quiet, low emissions engines and carries a full compliment of safety equipment. The design of the vessel provides for good dry stowage and plenty of shelter whilst at sea. A roof top spotting tower is of great assistance when looking for whales. Our fully qualified, experienced and friendly crew will ensure that your time onboard is a safe and memorable experience.

Our Guesthouse

Our guesthouse is comfortable and practical double-storey accommodation, within a secure compound in a secluded street. This 6 bedroom house (2 with ensuite). It is only five minutes’ transfer from the boat harbour and is very spacious. There is plenty of room for all of your dive gear and a great, secure storage area. Your meals are prepared by local chefs. On the menu are a range of foods including traditional Tongan dishes. Fresh sashimi is a speciality. These sensational meals have proven very popular with all of our guests.

David Donnelly

Dave is a marine mammal researcher with over twenty years field experience and a broad background in marine science including eco-tourism, oil and gas, documentary film making and research. He has worked for six universities on a range of scientific projects. He has been part of the Antarctic Blue Whale Project since January 2012, runs the Australian Orca database and is an experienced tracker of singing Humpback Whales. Dave brings extensive experience to the team as a highly-skilled marine fauna observer, small boat operator and safety diver.

Our Whales

We want you to have the greatest time and leave with a life-changing whale swim encounter. Finding the right whales to swim with means being safer and getting a more rewarding experience. We don't target mums with calves but look for groups of young animals who choose to spend time with with us that isn't a distraction from their normal routines. In our experience this makes for altogether better encounters.

Details

The Experience

Your 7-day tour starts the moment you land in Tonga and we pick you up from Nuku’Alofa airport to transport you to our private guesthouse.

You will be led by our expert whale biologist guide, Dave Donnelly, who along with Tongan crew and hospitality staff will be looking after you during your stay. While it’s possible to go the whole week barely opening your wallet, we have two non-swim days, where you can explore including a couple of evenings to eat out (we can recommend a range of eateries to suit every budget).

One of the non-swim days is the obligatory Sunday when Tongans are not allowed to work. The other will be the day we think is the least favourable for whale swims - on this day we arrange a supplementary cultural tour with our guides.

For the most part however, we will be heading out about 8am to the harbour and boarding MV Blue Water Explorer. Under the careful guidance of our whale specialist, we will spend time looking for and learning about whales.

Finding the right whales means getting the best encounters possible - and while we have had up to 15 swims in a day, sometimes a swim can last up to an hour or so. It just depends on the whales‘ mood and that’s where our experts make all the difference to your experience.

By booking with Blue Water Explorer, you'll avoid the hustle and bustle of the other islands and get the chance to relax in the company of like-minded people with the experience, passion and commitment to deliver an outstanding experience without any hidden costs for you or the whales.

*What's Included?

  • 5 days whale swims on the best 5 days out of six (excluding Sunday)
  • Airport and vessel transfers
  • Expert guides with you 24/7
  • 7 b/fasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
  • 7 nights’ accommodation in a secure private guesthouse with shared bathroom (a small supplement applies for ensuite)

Excluded: anything not listed above, international flights, alcoholic drinks and items of a personal nature.

Supplements

  • For $150 per person, a cultural island tour including lunch, guiding and transport, can be arranged with our Tongan guides for your one non-whale-swim day that is not the Sunday.
  • $350 per day for ensuite room (only 2 available).

Getting there

Let us know if you'd like our registered travel agent to arrange your flights for you.

FLIGHTS

As of the start of 2016, there are daily flights to and from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne; and flights five times per week from Auckland.

For the latest flight information, visit the Kingdom of Tonga website

Where is it?

Your holiday is on the main island of Tonga Tapu, accessed via the capital Nuku’Alofa.

Visas

Visitors from most countries do not need a visa to enter Tonga. The latest details are also on the Kingdom of Tonga website. Please also check with your travel agent before flying.

MEDIA & TRADE

For all Sales & Marketing enquiries, contact:
Simon Mustoe
Tel: +61 (0) 405 220 830
Email: simon@dig-travel.com