About Humpback Whales Whale watching is a rapidly growing industry worldwide with more than 50 countries watching whales at some level. Whales and dolphins use the coastlines of many South Pacific nations for feeding, breeding and migration. From June to October, Tonga's warm, sheltered waters are host to humpback whales. Spinner and bottlenose dolphins are also regularly seen in the Vava'u Island Group. The rare green sea turtle breeds in Tonga waters, and is occasionally seen darting amongst coral heads by snorkellers, though is more likely to be spotted on the water's surface in calm conditions. Vigilant snorkelers might even glimpse a manta ray or eagle ray. Tonga's extensive reefs of sturdy hard coral teem with small, colourful reef fish including clownfish, damselfish, parrotfish, angelfish, butterflyfish and lionfish. Among the invertebrates are anemones, shrimp, feather stars, sea hares and sea horses.
A relatively new industry in Tonga, whale watching is raising awareness of whale conservation in this ex-whaling community while, at the same time, bringing significant economic benefits to the local community. Today, all whales and dolphins are totally protected by the Tongan Fisheries (Conservation and Management) Regulations 1993. Underwater Humpback Whale Picture Tonga has its own national whale watch guidelines, which at once ensure that the whales are not subjected to undue stress and meet visitors' expectations. The licensed commercial whale watch operators in Tonga, including Whale Discoveries, are obliged to conform to these guidelines.
Whale sightings in Tonga are reliable since the shallow coastline that the whales frequent is accessible to boats. Moreover, the humpback whale is among the most interesting of whales to observe owing to its impressive acrobatic displays such as fluke, flipper and head slapping, lob tailing, spy hopping, and breaching. Provided that everyone observes the guidelines, whale watching can be a rewarding experience.)