Posted by: Carol | August 16, 2009

Back to Tonga!


About Tonga in general

Malo e lelei (“Greetings” in Tongan)

Our bags are packed and Tuesday afternoon we board our plane(s) for the long flight back to Raven, currently anchored in Vava’u, Kingdom of Tonga.  Why?  See photo (and no, I didn’t take it – hope I’m lucky enough to get something nearly as good)! It is humpback whale season and I’m super excited about the rare opportunity to swim with and photograph the humpbacks and their babies in Tonga’s clear waters.

Coincidentally this article about photographing whales showed up in my inbox just yesterday. Talk about timely!  As well I’ve inserted a link to a recording of humpback whale song, also a link to the excellent Dive Vava’u website about diving in Tonga and Tonga in general.

This is our last cruise aboard Raven; at its conclusion she sails for New Zealand to be sold. However the trip Rod has outlined for us sounds terrific. Spend several days in Vava’u, taking advantage of the commercial whale watching outfits there. Then cruise some 160nm north to the very remote Niuatoputapu Island for a week. Then back to Vava’u, down to the Ha’apai Group and finishing in Nuku’alofa mid-September.  Tonga consists of some 170 islands sprinkled over some 700,000 square km of ocean, and divided into four main island “groups”. On this voyage we plan to visit all four groups, from the Niuas in the far north to Tongatapu in the south, with the Ha’apai Group and the Vava’u Group between.

En route back to Tucson we plan to detour to New Zealand for a couple of days to check in with Circa Marine and see the latest progress on the FPB64.

An Underwater Photographer’s Guide to Humpback Whales in Tonga

Whale Song Recording

Dive Vava’u Website



  1. Hi Carol and Mike!
    Sounds like you will have a fantastic time! I had some friends spend a season in Tonga as dive instructors during the humpback season – they said it was incredible.
    I know how much you’ve enjoyed Raven and I hope she finds a wonderful home – if only we were a few more years down the track, we’d love to do what you are doing now.
    Hope we get to see you as well next time you’re here 🙂 and that all is progressing well with your new FPB64 – can’t wait to see her!
    Take good care and a have an amazing adventure in the Kingdom!

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