The Vavu’a Whale Watching Operators are set up around the reality of life… Tourism is really the only significant industry in the Vavu’a Group of islands and it revolves around the two main groups of visitors – whale watchers and yachties.
The whales seem to be the main game and the season is relatively short from around mid July to the end of October and there is not much to do outside of those months.
So they have to maximize their revenue when the whales are there and while visitor numbers are increasing the number of actual operators is controlled by the number of permits issued by the Tongan Government.
However Tonga is not the easiest place to operate from and there are significant logistical challenges in running a business that involves taking people out on the water to swim with large marine creatures – all of which add up.
So don’t go to Tonga for the whales and expect to do it on the cheap as your chances of success will be minimal…
Google “whale watching in Tonga” and you will find pages of companies offering fantastic experiences, but its not that easy and really it all boils down to what you want to do.
I went to Tonga because it has been on my bucket list for a few years and I wanted to be in the water with the humpback whales and get some good photographs.
Sounds kind of easy – right? The Tongan Government is pretty chilled about these things and lets you in the water, the whales are there, the boats take you out – next step the front cover of National Geographic…
Trust me, it’s not that easy and if you want a quality experience the first thing you need is a guide who really understands the humpback whales, respects their behavior and (most importantly) is working with one of the main operators that has all the logistics worked out!
I did a lot of research on who I should use for my trips to Tonga and was happy with the results – please email me if you would like some advice on that.