wow Rob, Thanks for that info. I know your operation gets fabulous reviews. I will seriously think about it before I lay down my deposit to PH.
sorry for the poor use of the word "bribe". I just didn't know what else to call it and certainly didn't mean it in a bad way -- actually, i thought of it as a plus in your favor. IMO local people have every right to make some extra money off rich western tourists.
re humpbacks. yes i know it's the luck of the draw, but i always wanted to go to Tonga since i was a kid -- can't explain why. something in that name. I can't get that close and NOT go.
And I'm sure the diving is decent enough that I won't get bored, with or without whales!
Any suggestions on where to go? Was set on Sandy Beach Resort in Ha'apai, but just found out a big group has the whale boat chartered same days.
You definitely should go to Tonga, even if you are a bit early for the best of the humpbacks. It's a lovely and very interesting country, particularly as they prepare to retire the monarchy and move to democracy. During whale season we operate only in Ha'apai, the middle group in the country (where Sandy Beach Resort is located), so I don't know about Vava'u first hand. But I know there are several good operators up there and some gorgeous little island resorts. As Mike mentioned, Paul and Karen at Dive Vava'u are great folks and I've heard they run a first-class operation. Another we often hear good things about is Mounu Island Resort (www.mounuisland.com). Have a great time! Best fishes, Rob