The Amateur Traveler joins Chris (a different Chris) as he talks about swimming with Humpback Whales in the waters off the Pacific island country of Tonga. This episode features whale song recorded with an iRiver and a hydrophone. (This was the 1st of 5 episodes that Chris has done with the Amateur Traveler and I have often called him my favorite guest).
The Scholar Ship
Travel Channel – 5 Takes
Chris’s detailed trip report
Chris’s article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
- The famous “Mutiny on the Bounty” occurred in Tonga, in the Ha’apai Group.
- Captain James Cook gave a radiated tortoise from Madagascar to the Tongan royal family as a gift in either 1773 or 1777. The tortoise was given the honorary title “Tu’i Malila” and lived continuously with the royal family until it died in 1965 — almost 200 years later.
- Tonga has a total population of abut 100,000 people. About 60,000 live on Tongatapu, and 15,000 on Vava’u.
- The only native land mammal to Tonga is the flying fox, a species of fruit bat.
- Humpback whales come to Tonga in the Southern Hemisphere winter — July to October
- One of the deepest points in the world is near Tonga — the Tonga Trench, which is over 30,000 feet deep in some places.
Chris’s sound equipment: Aquarian AQ9 hydophone and an iRiver iFP-799T mp3 player
Tonga tourist links:
- Tongan Visitors Bureau
- WhaleSwim Adventures – offering package tours to swim with humpback whales
- Aquarium Adventures – tour booking agency in Vava’u
- Hakula Lodge and charter fishing boat M/V Hakula
- Whales in the Wild – whale watching/swimming tours
- Mounu Island Resort
- Fafa Island Resort (Tongatapu)
- Wild Focus Films – providing underwater digital video footage of your encounters with the whales
- Beluga Diving
- Dolphin Pacific Diving
- S/V Impetuous charter sailboat
- S/V Melinda charter sailboat
- Matangi Tonga – Tonga’s online newspaper
- Planet Tonga – news and features about Tonga
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Whale song. (artist name unknown)