Tag Archive: south pacific


The Culture of Tonga

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As I reflect upon our recent expediton to the South Pacific Kingdom of Tonga, I am grateful for not only the whales and reefs but for the rich cultural interfacing that has become such an intrigal part of our program. We danced, visited schools and a weaver’s  home. We drank Kava and shared our songs as well as enjoyed the songs of the  local  people. We  shared our personal insights each night as we felt embraced by the beautiful people of Tonga.

Cn3DBQ4OT5SF9QR6iBI7ig_thumb_feba The Tongans  takes great pride in their Polyneisan heritage and this is expressed daily through their language, dress, food and culture. The whales and coral reefs are marvelous, but our Tongan friends remain  close to our hearts. We are so grateful for the deep connections we are making. IMG_4235

Thanks to all of our wonderful hosts~Matafonua Lodge (Ha’apai), The Hideaway (Eua Island),  Mala Island Resort (Vava’u),  Kiko’s Whale Swims (Eua island) The crew of the Ashlee G and Llena (Vava’u).

Encounter with a Baby Whale
There are just a few places in the world where in water encounters with whales are permitted and regulated. In a nation where humpback whales were virtually decimated by a whaling industry just decades ago, their population is slowly recovering. Supporting a local economy through regulated whale swims is helping to preserve a fragile population of whales that spend ‘their winter” in the archipelago kingdom of Tonga.

As with all of our encounters, this young and very playful whale initiated the contact with us. It happened repeatedly for well over an hour. Every 10-15 minutes or so, the mother would appear out of the deep blue and escort her baby away. We would simply wait and within a few minutes the mother would drop the baby off for more interaction.

We were brought to tears on several occasions, so moved by the experience. Thanks to a wonderful scouting team, the kind people of Tonga and thank you Mama Whales !