Friday Lens Affair 195

Whale Diving in Tonga, Ha’apai

Today I’m hosting an amazing picture of whale diving in Tonga taken by Nicole LaBarge from Travelgal Nicole Blog.

Nicole got her first taste for travel when she was 16 years old. Ever since then she has been hooked and calls herself a travel-holic.

She believes you can travel and have a career and she is halfway to her goal of visiting every country in the world.

Nicole is a serial expat living in five different countries to date and is currently based in Wellington, New Zealand. She loves travelling and has visited 115 countries.

Do follow her adventure on Facebook and Instagram.

Photo Story: Whale Diving in Tonga

I flew to the island of Ha’apai in Tonga which has a real laid back feeling, beautiful palm trees, and a reef right outside our accommodation.

Tonga is just starting to get attention as a place to go because you can swim with humpback whales there.

That’s right, this is not a whale watching the place you actually get in the water with the whales and swim with them.

There are strict regulations around this to keep the animals safe such as a limit to the number of people in the water at any one time and also you must stay a minimum distance away from the whales.

One day we watched four males showing off to prove who was the dominant one. They were breaching, and blowing bubbles and all around showing off for us. It was amazing to then get in the water with them and watch this.

I still remember this gigantic male swimming below our boat and he was belly up so you saw the bright white of his underbelly in the deep blue of the ocean. And he was fast. So fast. And then two flicks of the tale and he breached again. It was an amazing experience.

The best experience of one day was watching a mother and calf in the water for over an hour. The mother was near the bottom of the ocean floor and with the crystal clear waters, you could see her down there.

The calf was going to the surface to take a breath and back down to the mother to stay by her side and since the calf couldn’t hold its breath as long as the mother it would go back up to the surface for another breath. It was incredible to watch.

I have watched turtles laying eggs, swam with whale sharks, and been on 12 different safaris and this is my top wildlife encounters. When you get in the water with the whales you realise just how big they are and I kept saying in my mind I can’t believe I’m doing this!

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