Swimming with Whales off Tonga – Episode 38

categories: pacific travel


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).

click here to download (mp3)
click here to download (iTunes enhanced)


The Scholar Ship
Travel Channel – 5 Takes

Show Notes

Photo Gallery
Chris’s detailed trip report
Chris’s article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tonga Trivia:

  • 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
Underwater Cameras

Internet Resources

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


Comment on this episode


Biltmore Insider Podcast
Real Deadwood Podcast

Thanks to LiveWorld for providing the bandwidth for this podcast


Whale song. (artist name unknown)

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

One Response to “Swimming with Whales off Tonga – Episode 38”

Travel Round Up: Swimming With Whales | SHORTCUT


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