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mauidoug

2011 Tonga Humpback whale report

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In the world of adventure travel Tonga is one of those destinations that has yet to be discovered by the mainstream. While the diving is good this remote destination is one of the only places in the world where the government issues a set number of permits allowing charter companies to take people snorkeling with Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whales.

 

2011, was my sixth season in Tonga, and based on 3 days in Tongatapu, 2 weeks in Ha'apai, and 3 weeks in vavau' Tonga, I'd have to say it was a very good season.

Among all the incredible encounters this year, a few stand out. One one day, I saw males head butting and fluke slapping in an attempt to show dominance in a heat run, males bubbling each other and lunging on top of each other from underwater. It was like the discovery channel but happening 30-40 feet away. I could watch but with a 10-17 lens could not get close enough to make quality photographs. This season it also seemed like there were a lot of males around. This observation is based only on the number of heat runs I observed as well as the number of groups of young whales not yet sexually active playing and pretending to do behaviors they would be doing for sure perhaps as soon as next season.

 

Read the entire report here2011 Tonga report

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Fantastic report/tutorial. Required reading for those interested in going. Hmmm...9 days x $400 for a private charter = a good chunk of change. A serious trip to be sure but obviously can be an amazing experience.

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