Sunday Escape Editorial

Swim with whales in Tonga with Majestic Whale Encounters
by: Staff writers
From: Escape August 10, 2013 12:00AM



Swim with whales in Tonga. Picture: Majestic Whale Encounters

AUSTRALIAN marine conservationist Carmen Ellis and her surfer husband Matt have begun offering tours to swim with humpback whales in Tonga.
Ellis, a former zookeeper who studied marine science at university, will operate Majestic Whale Encounters between July and October each year, when the whales migrate north to mate, give birth and nurse their young before returning to the colder waters of Antarctica.

Groups of eight will stay at Matafonua Lodge on the untouched island of Foa in the Ha’apai island group. Ellis says there are only two boats operating whale swim tours from Foa and they work in a safe and respectful manner. Prices start from $3500 a person, twin share, including one night in Tongagtapu, nine nights in a beachside fale with breakfast and lunch daily, six days of guided swims, snorkelling equipment, a welcome dinner, domestic flights, inter-island transfers and taxes.