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Meanwhile, in Tonga

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Will and Sarah Curry of the Vancouver, BC-based Beneteau First 405 Hydroquest recently had an up-close-and-personal look at a group of humpback whales during their visit to Tonga.

If you look closely, you can see whale flukes in the background, left. You can tell by their ear-to-ear smiles that Sarah and Will were elated about their experience.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"Tonga is one of the only places in the world where you can (legally) swim with humpback whales," writes Sarah, "so the first thing we did upon arrival in Neiafu was to arrange a tour." Needless to say, it was an amazing experience.

As author Sylvia Fox explains in the Tonga article which appears in the August edition of Latitude 38, "You need a Tongan guide (by law) and the swimming is tightly controlled. From June to November, the gentle humpback whales from the Southern Hemisphere head to the warm Tongan waters to raise newborn calves until they are strong enough to make the migration home.

How cool would it be to swim in Tonga’s gin-clear waters with a mama whale and her calf.

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

"Whale lovers from around the world make it a destination, flying in to Vava’u to spend multiple days in the water. It’s a life-changing experience. Throw on a mask, snorkel and fins and jump in the water with a 50-foot long humpback female, and usually a 10- to 15-foot frolicking calf. Calves are generally inquisitive so the challenge is to stay the mandatory distance from the mammals. But you’re always being watched by the mother and sometimes a male sentry whale. Be sure to listen underwater. Whale songs are clear, loud and amazing. And underwater cameras are a must." 

Needless to say, if you intent to sail the South Pacific in the coming years, we’d highly recommend visiting Vava’u, and splurging on a swim-with-the-whales excursion.

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