Well, that’s a wrap for our swims in 2018!
What a brilliant time we had.
Our trips enjoyed some of the best weather and whale activity we’ve ever experienced.
Guests were treated to whales underwater on every day. Over the course of our two weeks, we covered a distance of 917.3 kilometres, had 72 encounters with cetaceans (whales and dolphins) totalling 24.83 hours of interaction time of which 9.01 hours was spent swimming with whales!!
We encountered three species of cetacean (humpback whale, false killer whale and spinner dolphins) and even had a sailfish join in on one of our best swims.
From the very first phone call, you have facilitated a real holiday. The booking was easy, the info was great and the end came way too soon.
Dave is gold! I believe he even had the whales briefed each day to make sure they knew our wishes . Day one, before lunch, all my expectations had been met and from there it just kept on being more amazing. I know he will have let you know all we did each day but it was more! The knowledge he has adds immeasurably to this trip, as does his kindness, enthusiasm, and happy nature.
I’m still processing “swimming in the same space as whales” which hasn’t quite felt real! I feel so lucky and also humbled; so much more aware of the interconnectedness of this world we share, and of the simple things which have such an enormous impact.
Thank you for allowing a suburban granny all this!!!
Kindest regards, Marilyn
Although for ethical reasons we don’t engage humpback whale groups with calves, we do still record calves if we see them. This season we recorded 7 individual calves in the area, mostly located within the inner reef system where they most likely have protection from predators for this critical period of their development.
The best swims
Our guests had some magnificent swims with the longest non-stop swim lasting a full 90 minutes. The only reason the swim didn’t last longer is that we have a self-imposed maximum 90 interaction time. This maximum time is applied in the interest of animal welfare and fits with world’s best practice.
In addition to the 90 minute swim, we also had a number of interactions that lasted in excess of 45 minutes.
Some of our highlights of the two weeks included:
- seeing a curious false killer whale that checked out our group,
- the appearance of a sailfish amongst a group of 5 social humpback whales,
- witnessing a competitive group of 8 humpback whales and
- swimming with a singing whale….always a highlight and a specialty of our tours.
Data collection for tourism and conservation
As always, we collected scientific data during our days at sea which has been contributed to the University of Queensland, Auckland University and for the first time, Massey University.
Data collected included a total of 36 usable humpback fluke identification images of humpback whales and 4 high grade hydrophone recordings of humpback whale song.
We also collected an acoustic recording of false killer whale whistles and echolocation clicks as well as some fin identification images.
Thank you to our valued partners in Tonga
We would like to thank all of our guests who chose to come along this season, it was certainly a pleasure to have you all onboard. We would also like to thank our partners and service providers in the Kingdom of Tonga; Jones Travel, Whale Swim, Fish and Dive Tours and accommodation providers ‘Utu ‘One.
2019 tours are now on sale with one week already sold out!!