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Tonga and Fiji: Whale and Reef Snorkeling Adventure

Swim with whales in Tonga and snorkel some of the South Pacific’s best coral reefs in Fiji on this spectacular snorkeling adventure.

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Overview

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Spend 5 days snorkeling alongside humpback whale mother-calf pairs in Vava’u, Tonga.
  • Spend 5 days exploring the 190-km of shallow coral reefs in Beqa Lagoon, Fiji, and support local conservation efforts.
  • Improve your fish ID skills and participate in coral restoration efforts.

Explore two of the best ocean destinations in the South Pacific on this one-of-a-kind itinerary. This two-week snorkeling odyssey will have you swimming with humpback whale mother and calf pairs in the blue waters of Tonga and then plying the vibrant, shallow water coral reefs of Fiji’s Beqa Lagoon. You will have ample opportunity in both countries to also explore the rich cultural heritage that each location has to offer, and your participation will directly benefit our conservation partners in both Tonga and Fiji.

During our stay in Fiji you will also have the unique opportunity to go out in the field with researchers from the Beqa Lagoon Initiative and learn about the work they are doing with local communities to restore mangroves and reduce marine plastic pollution. In the evenings the researchers will offer lectures on fish ID techniques and coral reef ecology. Flights between the destinations (and the U.S.) are easily arranged on Fiji Airways.

Trip Dates & Cost

2019: September 28 - October 11. $6,275 / person. Single supplement fee: $1,450 (limited quantity available). Group size limit: 8.*

2020: October 3-15. $6,495 / person. Single supplement fee: $1,450 (limited quantity available). Group size limit: 8.*

* Trip price does not include international airfare. Click here for our full expedition terms and conditions.

Photos
Naturalist

Roger Harris is a long-time Oceanic Society naturalist with 30 years of experience working as a guide. In addition to working with Oceanic Society, Roger has frequently worked as a naturalist for Lindblad Expeditions and the National Audubon Society. As a naturalist he has led eco-tours in Honduras, Belize, Kenya, Great Barrier Reef, Galapagos, Baja California, and SE Alaska. Roger is also a professional conservation biologist specializing in endangered species, wetlands, and native habitat restoration. He earned a graduate degree in ornithology from U.C. Berkeley, and is both a NAUI diver and an expert world birder.

Keoki Stender is a native Hawaiian photographer, educator, diving industry specialist, and owner of marinelifephotography.com, a popular species identification resource for Hawaii and beyond. He studied marine science and botany at the University of Hawaii and shares this passion as a guest speaker and volunteer educator for many organizations. Keoki is a PADI scuba instructor with more than 25 years of experience in the dive industry.

Steve Trott is a marine zoologist and the projects development manager at Watamu Marine Association in Kenya, an organization that promotes sustainable tourism, community based waste management, and marine conservation. Steve’s current focus is on finding innovative solutions to the growing marine debris problem while providing financial benefit to coastal communities in Africa.

Itinerary

A detailed itinerary is available upon request. Please contact us.

Day 1: Arrive in Vava'u
Fly to Vava'u, Tonga (crossing the International Date Line), transfer to hotel.

Days 2–7: Whale Watching and Snorkeling
We will spend 5 days whale watching and reef snorkeling on boat- and shore-based outings. Typically we will head out at 9:00 am and return around 3:00 pm. We should be able to observe a variety of whale behaviors, from mother and calf interactions to the sometimes combative behavior of mature bulls. Humpback whales are the most acrobatic whale species, and will often perform spectacular displays of breaching, lob-tailing, spy-hopping, and fin-slapping. During times when we are not whale watching, we will have plenty of opportunities to snorkel along the nearby reefs. The sheltered waters of Vava’u offer a variety of snorkeling sites. Soft coral walls, large sea fans and an abundance of tropical fish and colorful invertebrates are found in these clear, warm waters. Set against the lush tropical coastline, we will also search for birds such as brown boobies, noddy terns, great frigate birds, and herons.

Read our 2018 naturalist's report for more details about the types of activities we may enjoy in Tonga.

Day 8: Vava'u, Tonga - Nadi, Fiji - Beqa Island
Today we will say goodbye to Tonga and board a short flight to Nadi, Fiji (note: although this flight is not included in the trip cost, it can be easily arranged on Fiji Airways, and we will assist you in making your flight arrangements). Once in Fiji, we will take a boat ride to idyllic Beqa Island and check in to our hotel.

Days 9–13: Snorkeling Beqa Lagoon
We will have 5 full days to snorkel in the beautiful reefs surrounding Beqa Island. Just a short boat ride from the resort in the tranquil, crystal clear water is an incredible diversity of marine life, chock-full of soft corals, sea fans, garden eels, orangutan crabs, rays, bull sharks, tiger sharks, and various fish species. Each day, after breakfast, we will be picked up and head out on the water to go to multiple snorkeling sites. We will then take a short break to eat a packed lunch before going to more sites. We will go back to the resort mid-afternoon and have the rest of the afternoon to relax on the beach under the palm trees. Following dinner, your naturalist may give a presentation about the coral reef ecosystems and the global issues that impact them. There will also be opportunities to enjoy Meke, a traditional Fijian song and dance, while we drink kava out of coconut cups.

See our naturalist's 2018 Fiji snorkeling expedition report for more details about the types of activities we may enjoy in Fiji.

Day 14: Beqa Island - Nadi - Fly home
In the morning, transfer by boat to Pacific Harbor, then take a scenic (2.5 hour) drive to Nadi International Airport. You will have the rest of the day to explore Nadi on your own, before your evening flight back home.

Accommodations

In Tonga, participants will stay in double-occupancy rooms at the highly-rated, beachfront Tongan Beach Resort. This small resort, known for its great staff, features 12 guest rooms and 180 meters of beachfront. All rooms are only steps away from the water’s edge and are fitted with electric ceiling fans with open entrances allowing for a natural sea breeze if desired. Each room has its own covered decked balcony with table and chairs to relax on. Daily excursions will be made by private boat or vehicle.

In Fiji, we will stay at Beqa Lagoon Resort. This highly-rated hotel is situated in a lush, tropical garden setting and is known for its outstanding service. This comfortable resort is ideally located for our daily outings, offering easy access to Beqa Lagoon's best snorkel sites.


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