Everybody has a bucket list of sorts, even those that aren’t familiar with the term. Life moves pretty fast so it’s only natural that we start planning ahead for the things that look so inconceivably earth shattering and mind altering that we have no choice but to partake. Whale watching is a prominent activity amongst nature enthusiasts and animal lovers. As exciting as this may be, we here at KNSTRCT have found an alternative that is guaranteed to rock your whale loving socks off, and is sure to be something that will shoot toward the top of your bucket list.
The whale experiences we are accustomed to here in America are absolutely nothing compared to the adventures waiting in the islands of the Pacific. The Kingdom of Tonga has an enormous of opportunities to interact with whales firsthand, in an intimate setting that is unlike anything else in the world. What begins as a whale watching tour, if the conditions are right, quickly turns into a swimming, snorkeling extravaganza as you are able to get up close and personal with the breathtaking beauty of a hump backed whale floating right beside you. We recommend booking a tour with the Dolphin Pacific Diving company, based out of a town called Neiafu in Tonga. They provide experienced guides who will be with you every step of the way to both inform and assist you. Prices for these tours are incredibly reasonable, ranging from $350 to $400 for a several day diving experience.
Flights to Tonga can be on the pricy side, considering it is a flight that lasts over 24 hours if you’re coming from the East Coast, but it is certainly doable with only 2 connecting flights. There are also plenty of hotels to choose from in Neiafu, including the nearby Fafa Island Resort and the highly rated Ha'atafu Beach Resort.
For anyone that is leery about the ethical implications of interacting so closely with the whales they need not worry, Tonga has passed multiple legislations on the subject, ensuring the safety and well being of the whales. There really is no downside to a trip like this, and we recommend that you start saving up for those flight tickets now!
This island chain is home to the world's last Polynesian monarchy. You probably won't find a castle here, but then, who needs a throne room when you can have a South Pacific islet all to yourself?
Photography by Matthew Coutts