Photo Credit: Kim Powell
Our adventure begins in Tongatapu, the Capital of Tonga on August 7th. This requires that you depart your USA mainland airport on Saturday, August 5th. We will meet you at the airport in Tonga and get settled into our accommodations for the evening ( Double -Triple Occupancy rooms and dinner included). Our 2023 program is our first offering to Fiji where as our history in Tonga began the summer of 2014. We may have a few kinks to iron out in Fiji, but we will strive to offer the activities as described in the itinerary below, though subject to some minor tweaks. Bula!
Our domestic flight departs Nakualofa, Tongatapu for the Ha’apai Island group at TBA on August 8th. Our destination is Matafonua Lodge situated at the far end of Foa Island. Matafonua Lodge is renown for its long stretches of white sandy beaches lined with lush coconut trees and coral gardens just offshore from our cabanas. British ex-pats Darren and Nina Rice who manage the lodge are raising their 3 children surrounded by sun, sand and whales.
Their fascinating story and superb photography can be reviewed here: Island Life. Your afternoon will be free to enjoy our island paradise which we will call home for the next 7 nights ( (quad occupancy cabanas, continental breakfast and dinners included for the next 7 nights). Please review the description of accommodations here: More Info
Photo Credit: Kim Powell
Today we will offer a check out snorkel and introduction to the array of marine resources that abound in the Tongan waters. Just steps away from our cabanas exists a flourishing coral reef ecosystem that supports an array of species such as hawksbill sea turtles, Spanish dancers, leopard sharks and massive corals.
Join us in the water as your Blue Water Ventures naturalists share their knowledge of coral reef ecology and the behaviors of reef fish. During the week, certified divers may arrange for a dive with the island dive master. Our day will also include our first chance to observe and possibly swim with humpback whales! Please contact Kim at email@example.com if you are interested in diving.
Our beach front accommodations provides bikes as well as kayaks for use, free of charge.
Small traditional village communities are nearby and an uninhabited island paradise is within kayaking or snorkeling distance
Exploring Ha’apai, Photo Credit: Kim Powell
Today, we plan to offer a guided exploration of the intertidal world a few steps away from our accommodations. Join your naturalist as we walk the beaches exploring the rich invertebrate life that flourishes in the South Pacific. Hiding in rocky nooks and crannies we may find sea cucumbers, brittle stars, ribbon worms and colorful nudibranchs. Later today. we will drop our hydrophone into the water to listen to the melodious song of the male humpback whales, known for their complex songs which are sung in the breeding grounds.
Pregnant Humpback whales give birth to a single calf every 2-3 years in the protected lagoons of Tonga with the Ha’apai region known as a nursery area.
Swimming among the humpback whales is highly regulated with only 4 people and a guide permitted near a whale at a time. Each day that we swim, we will offer a morning session for 1/2 our group and and an afternoon session for the other 1/2 of our group, taking turns as we share the experience. During your down time, your Blue Water Ventures naturalist will offer snorkeling, beach combing, hikes or kayaking excursions.
Patiently, we wait to slip into the turquoise blue water as we hope for an extraordinary encounter with a marine mammal that may exceed 50 feet in length and weigh 80,000 pounds! People have described this experience as life altering.
Photo Credit: Kim Powell
Today we will offer another chance to swim among the humpback whales and their offspring. We have also made arrangements to visit the local elementary school where we can donate school supplies brought from the States. Such gestures are greatly appreciated as supplies are very limited. The children are always excited to meet us and may share songs, games and curriculum. Tonight we will offer a night walk to discover what nocturnal species are active at night.
Our day will include another opportunity to observe whales from above and below water. We have also arranged an opportunity to learn the art of Tongan weaving, You may join the women of Faleloa Village as they share this ancient ritual. Later in the evening, we plan to have our first taste of Kava, another long standing ritual among the Tongan and Fijian cultures although each culture has its unique practices around Kava. Whether you sample the Kava or not, we highly recommend that you join us for this incredibly unique cultural opportunity.
Sunday is considered a sacred day in Tongan culture with no guided whale watching permitted.. Your morning will be free to relax around our island paradise or you may join us at church known for its elaborate singing and cultural exchange.
Later in the day, bikes are available for use and a magnificent beach worth exploring is near by. Our day will include learning how to prepare the traditional Tongan feast prepared in an Umu, an underground oven. Your Blue Water Ventures Guides are always available to lead an interpretive snorkeling trip discussing the delicate ecology of coral reefs.
We will offer our final whale swim today. Humpback Whales are the most acrobatic of the baleen whales. Positioned in our skiffs we can watch for behaviors such as breaching and tail slapping.
With their eyes located on the side of their heads, Humpback Whales are known to spy hop. Raising much of their head out of the water they are able to look around.The level of interaction is entirely up to the whales. Each day is uniquely different and some days viewing is best done above water than below.
With 5 days of whale watching and swimming planned, we hope that everyone has an unforgettable encounter with the benevolent humpback whales.
Photo Credit: Kim Powell
We will catch a flight back to Tongatapu where we will connect with Air Fiji arriving into Nadi, the Capital of Fiji. Participants arrange for the international flight from Tonga to Fiji. Traveling by shuttle along the Coral Coast we arrive at the beautiful beach front Crusoe’s Resort where we base for the next 5 nights. Crusoe’s Resort is known for magnificent sunsets exploding with color across the South Pacific. It is located next to the village of Namaqumaqua. (Double occupancy rooms, continental breakfast and dinner included for five nights).
We have an incredible first full day planned in Fiji. Traveling by both motorized long canoe and bamboo raft, the traditional mode of transportation among the Fijians, we will explore the lush tropical scenery of the Navua River. Hiking through a dense forest we reach the spectacular Magic Waterfalls, plunging several 100 feet into a deep pool. Join your Blue Water Ventures Naturalist as we search for the Nopili Goby, a tiny saltwater fish species that migrates up freshwater rivers and literally climbs waterfalls. Our day will include visiting a Fijian Village where the locals will share a cultural presentation and the history of Kava.
Join us for an intertidal beach exploration after breakfast. Miles of sandy beaches stretch along the Coral Coast in front of our resort. In the early morning, the local Fijians are often found fishing, repairing nets or collecting edibles from the sea by hand. During the Global Pandemic, the villagers shared how grateful they were to have such rich marine resources, as well as land to harvest their ground provisions. Our day will be spent based at Crusoe’s Resort where a variety of activities will be offered such as beach combing, kayaking, hiking and cultural activities including a lesson in Fijian cooking! Our day will include a visit to the local school in the village of Namaqumaqua. Tonight we will return to the village for Kava, a cultural opportunity not to be missed.
Today we will travel to Pacific Harbor to meet our island shuttle. Our destination is Beqa Island where kayaks will glide us through the islands interior lined by a mangrove forest. Birding is excellent as the intricate mangrove foliage provides critical habitat for an array of bird species as well as “flying foxes”, the noticeably large bats found in both Fiji and Tonga. Clinging to the submerged mangrove roots are an array of cryptically colored invertebrates. Our day will include snorkeling and beach combing around this stunning island in the South Pacific.
We will have another layover day at Crusoe’s Resort. Among the activities we may offer today is learning the traditional method of fishing using a hand line as well an a spear pole. For those who would like to hike the forest, we will hire a local guide to share their knowledge of medicinal plants found in the jungly terrain. For certified divers, we suggest arranging a soft coral dive that the Fijian waters are noted for. More details at the More Info Page. On our final night we have arranged a sunset cruise followed by a poolside farewell dinner and gathering.
On our final day, we hope you will join us at the local village Church service, an entirely different experience than what we experienced in Tonga. Relax by the pool or take a final swim as we wait to catch our afternoon shuttle back to the Nadi International Airport for our flight back home.
Phone: (831) 459-8548
Santa Cruz, California
Monday – Saturday:
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Sunday CLOSED