Our first experience snorkeling with whales was in Niuatoputapu, Tonga.
The Captain and I were out in the dinghy preparing to snorkel a reef when we spied a pod of whales just beyond the reef. We raced over to the pod, got suited up and entered the water for one of the most amazing experiences that nature has on offer.
Unfortunately, the waters were rather murky so the photos didn’t come out. And the whales didn’t stick around long so it was a short lived experience.
But we were hooked!
We thought that we would have another go at it when we sailed into Vava’u, but we couldn’t find any whales in the area that was supposed to be ‘whale central’, at least in August and September.
At first we feared that we might be too late, but we met other boaters that had gone whale snorkeling with Beluga Diving, a top company in the area.
Our friend Jacob on SY Kwispel swung into action and organized an outing of sailors with Beluga Diving (at a slight ‘group rate’ discount). We signed on and were joined by seven others for a full-day of whale watching/snorkeling.
We arrived at Beluga Diving’s dock at 6:45 am and joined our three very talented guides Paulo, Tate and Moa.
We set out for the Southern part of the Vava’u group. Everyone kept an eye out and finally, after a few hours, we spotted a pod of whales (mother, baby and escort) that we could snorkel with.
We spent about two hours with the first pod, taking turns in two groups. Then we headed out in search of another pod which we found relatively quickly. We swam with the second pod for about an hour and then headed to two caves (Mariners and Swallow) for additional snorkeling (with fish and coral).
I feel blessed to have enjoyed this incredible experience. The Captain took some incredible footage with the Go Pro but computer challenges leave us unable to edit and load to Amandla’s YouTube channel until we arrive in New Zealand. In the interim, I leave you with some additional images that I captured of the experience.