Duplicat's Diary

Whale of a time in Vava'u
by Rick at 05:54:24, 2017-09-25 (day 1240)
We've been having a whale of a time in the Vava'u group of islands, Tonga. Literally, we swam with whales! This is an organised event, as to do so from your own boat risks large fines and probable loss of boat. It's also not cheap, but well worth it. We didn't have as much luck as some, but we still swam with them whilst they swam past us, and to hear the song up close was incredible. This is a pair we spotted early in the morning.

As well as this, we caught up with old friends and new. It was particularly nice to see Dan and ├ůsa from Bla Elinor - I lined handled for them in the canal back in March and though we have spoken on SSB and by email, it was nice to finally catch them up!

We also bumped into Jadean, So What and Nahoa again and with them, we dived Swallows Cave and the impressive Mariners cave which has a shallow underwater entry as well as a much deeper one. The unique thing about Mariners cave is that with any swell, the water level change inside the cave causes pressure changes and instant fog.

It was quite a surprise how much the pressure changed. We all had to keep clearing our ears on the surface.

In all, we managed 6 dives as we repeated Swallows Cave with Janet from Geniet Lewe and her daughter. Plus we did Langito'o reef and the Southern Pagoda dive with them which was very nice - plenty of lovely fish.

Time is marching on though, so we are now in the Ha'apai group of islands, working our way south. It's a lot less busy here and the islands as a whole are more sandy and lower lying than the uplifted coral in Vava'u. It's nice to be able to anchor in sensible depths and hit sand every time!

Amanda and I may well return to the Ha'apais but first Anthony has a plane to catch. Today we cleared out of Pangai, and by Wednesday evening we plan to be in Tongatapu ahead of his flight on Friday. It will be sad to lose our very able crew member after so long! We have a few days left though...