Dream Trip - Swim with Whales in Tonga and then spend a week diving the Bligh Waters of Fiji

Hosted by Douglas J Hoffman & Volivoli Beach Resort

September 2 - September 16, 2025

This trip combines a week in Tonga, swimming with whales, and a week of diving the most colorful and vibrant reefs in Fiji

This is a once-in-a-lifetime dream trip limited to six people.  $7,895 per person. 

The adventure begins with 7 nights and 5 days of private boat charter in Vavau' Tonga, and continues with 7 nights and 6 days of boat diving the famous Bligh Water in Fiji.
Guests will fly into Nadi Fiji and connect to Vavau, Tonga.  We will be met airport and taken to our 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 five 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 5 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 we stay together so the female can keep an eye on us.    It’s all good for us swimmers until one gets lost in the moment and starts to follow the baby, rather than stay in the group where the mom can monitor the situation.    It never fails that as the swimmer makes mom uncomfortable she just slowly descends with the baby, and disappears.
After a week in Tonga we will fly back to Nadi.  Private transportation has been arranged to take everyone to VoliVoli Resort, which is about a 3 hour drive to the North. The resort is the gateway to the Vatu I Ra Passage, better known as the Bligh Water. Deep Upwellings and strong tidal flow between the islands create the perfect conditions for vibrant soft coral, stunning hard coral, and myriads of tropical fish to thrive. Volivoli, is the only land-based resort currently diving in these waters.
We will spend 7 nights and enjoy 14 boat dives in the Bligh Water, unlimited Nitrox and shore dives.  The shoreline in front of the resort is sandy, and often mucky, but has all kinds of critters including sea horses. I have seen different anemones, & nudibranchs, as well as Ornate Ghost Pipe Fish on the house reef.  The accommodations are ocean view and have two beds in each. This trip is based on double occupancy.  If interested in upgrading to own room, deluxe ocean view, or to a villa with its own pool, it’s easy to do.  The resort has many levels to offer.  The camera room has space for 14 big housings and is located next to the dive shop. The shop has a lot of gear available for rent which is great because I use my baggage allowance for camera equipment and rent dive gear. The compressor room is the cleanest of any dive resort I have seen which is incredible as they pump as  many as 100 tanks a day.  The restaurant is amazing with menu service for every meal with the exception of the Fiji Cultural Night. You can order appetizer, main, and dessert each day it’s included.  The resort has two bars.  One is on the beach next to the dive shop, and the other is in the main dining room and social area.  Transportation to and from the airport is included, as is Wifi.

What to Pack

Participants should make sure to have a good rain jacket and hat.  The water temp will be warm enough that wetsuits are not necessary (78 degrees). That said about half the people bring shorty 3 mm suits. I have a lava core skin I love, but most of the time I just wear a rash guard. Shark skins are also popular and light weight.  We do not have weight belts so keep that in mind when considering what to bring. The sun is bright in Tonga so be sure to bring sunscreen.  I suggest Stream2Sea brand.  It is good for you and the environment.
When it comes to whale swimming we will have two groups of three swimmers 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.  If you want to be a hero for the local kids bring a bunch of colored pencils and pens to give away.  If you do have extra baggage they will charge you for it.  In 2023, international passengers going from US Mainland to Fiji get 1 piece of checked-in luggage at 50 pounds.

Getting There

Getting there.   There is no easy way to get to Tonga.  The fastest and most reliable route is through LA, and flying to Fiji. After a 2-hour layover,  you connect to the 2-hour flight to Vavau, Tonga.


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 two installments.   Pay 1/2 at time of sign up and the final balance would be due in May of 2024.
Call for further details
+1 808 870 3686

About the Dive Sites

Bligh Water & Vatu-I Ra Passage - With over 80 dive sites avaialble, here are a few of my favorites. 


Arguably one of Fiji’s most famous sites.  Starting just three feet from the surface this large pinnacle drops to over 900 meters.   There are abundant hard and soft corals along with a cathedral-like overhang adorned with gorgonian fans. Along the pinnacle, the wall has many crevices, swim-throughs, and tunnels.  This is a massive pinnacle that divers always enjoy.

Mellow Yellow

Soft coral-encrusted coral heads with pinnacles that is home to marine life ranging from tiny pipefishand  nudibranches,  to larger pelagic fish in the blue. The entire site is fantastic with the slopes covered with soft coral and reef top with beautfil hard coral gardens.  Everywhere you look there are bright colored Anthias fish darting around.   My personal favorite site in Fiji.

 Black Magic Mountain

Another world class pinnacle starting just 10 feet from the surface. Everywhere you look are colorful soft corals and gorgonian fans.  While deep is an option,best part in my opinion is between 60 and and the surface.

Mount Mutiny

Named after Captain Bligh and the famous mutiny on the Bounty this is another large pinnacle starting near the surface and dropping off into the abyss.  Healthy soft coral walls can easily keep a diver busy for many hours. This is by far one of the most requested sites in Fiji.