Swim with Whales in Tonga

Hosted by Douglas J Hoffman

September 1 - September 10 and Sept 10-19, 2025

This adventure is dedicated to swimming with whales in the wild.

Two back to back adventures including 9 nights and 7 days of private boat charter dedicated to observing whales in the wild.  Each Limited To Six People  

$5,550 per person. 

Each adventure includes 9 nights and 7 days of private boat charter in Vavau' Tonga.  Guests will be met at the Vavau' International Airport and taken to the guest house.  Each room has two queen beds and private bathroom. Breakfast is provided each morning, as is lunch on the boat.   We are on our own for dinners and lunch on Sunday.  There are several restaurants within a 5 -10 minute walk, and the guest house has a full kitchen so we can cook whatever we want.
We have the boat for 7 days of  private charter.  The goal for the trip is to find a mother and calf that are displaying behavior we know from experience may develop into an extended mutual interaction.   This is when the whales accept us and float along with us for multiple breathing cycles.
Most females breathe every 20 minutes or so. Calf’s on the other hand need to breathe every 4-5 minutes.   This means the baby is hanging with mom and going to the surface a lot.  When we humans behave in a nonthreatening manner and the female trusts us, she allows us to stay above her while she sleeps.   After a few breathing cycles the baby usually swims close to the swimmers and puts on a show.  It’s all good as long as we stay together so the female can keep an eye on us.

What to Pack

Participants should make sure to have a good rain jacket, hat, sunscreen, and waterproof bag.  The water temp will be about 78 degrees.  Everyone is different when it comes to getting cold in the water.   For Tonga, I usually wear just a long sleeve rash guard but bring a lava core hooded vest just in case. For Fiji I need a 5 mm suit.
When it comes to whale swimming we will have two groups rotate in and out of the water, in conjunction with the breathing cycles of the mom.  This gives people plenty of opportunity to view from the surface as well as underwater.
As far as packing goes, bring as little as possible as they weigh everything. Fiji Airways has recently introduced a new way to buy a ticket so you can pre pay for a second piece of luggage. If you want to bring your own dive gear, and have underwater camera gear this will be necessary.  The prices are not cheap but having your gear is priceless.   If you want to be a hero for the local kids bring a bunch of colored pencils and pens to give away.   In 2023, the airline had some issues with getting baggage from Nadi to Vavau, so just in case, bring your mask, fins, and camera in your carry on, as well as an extra pair of clothes. I have used Fiji Airways for 15 years and not had this problem before but it's smart to be prepared.

Getting There

Getting there.   There is no easy way to get to Tonga.  I suggest flying through LA and going to Nadi Fiji and connecting to Vavau Tonga.  Flights are limited, not offered every day of the week, or included in trip price. .


There are four requirements for this trip.
  1. You must have six months left on your passport to do this trip.
  2. You must also have DAN or other travel insurance.  I have DAN and I am alive today because it works.
  3. You must have trip insurance.    Get the best you can get and hope its money well spent that the trip goes off without a hitch.  As hard as I try to make things go smooth there are things that happen beyond my control.  Obviously there is the pandemic, but there is a chance Tonga could close its borders, A tsunami comes, the boat sinks or breaks, you get sick prior to the trip, you break your leg before the trip, or something else.   This way you are covered.  I have been doing these trips a long time and have seen a lot both things.  Insurance is the best way to protect yourself.
  4. By the time of the trip this may not be required but for now everyone entering Tonga must show proof of Covid vaccination.


You can pay for the trip all at once or in installments.   Pay $1,500 as a non refundable retainer at sign up.  Pay 30% of balance a year out, At six  months before the trip another 30% is due, and the final balance is due 3 months prior to the adventure.  International bank fees fluctuate and these costs are not included and will be shared by everyone going.  That amount will go on last payment.
Call for further details
+1 808 870 3686