Whale Watch Vava’u pioneered swimming with the humpback whales obtaining the first licence from the Tongan Government in 1993. We had our first purpose designed boat, Phoenix , built in New Zealand and shipped to the Kingdom early that year. T
he early days were a real learning curve as there was nowhere else in the world we could seek advice. Our knowledge of the whales initially came from working with scientists from the South Pacific Whale Research Consortium for 3 seasons.
We were involved with tail fluke photography which is the standard method for identifying individual whales. Obtaining DNA samples for analysis at Auckland University and the use of hydrophones to collect whale songs. By working daily with the scientists and our clients we were able to contribute to the collection of data as well as starting to understand something of the whales behaviour. We are still learning today.