Dolphin Pacific Diving and Whale Watching

Dolphin Pacific Diving and Whale Watching

Dolphin Pacific Diving and Whale Watching
Scuba & Snorkelling • Swim with Dolphins • Dolphin & Whale Watching
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We are experts in Whale watching and getting our guests swimming with whales, for a once in a lifetime experience. With 22 years of working in these waters, understanding whales and finding great dive sites, we know what it takes to offer you a truly unforgettable day! Hosts to the BBC, 60 minutes , Discover channel and IMAX Productions. Located in the Vava'u Island Group, the crystal clear waters offer superb diving, while the warm sheltered waters attract the annual migration of humpback whales.
Neiafu, Tonga
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Dolphin Pacific Diving and Whale Watching
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

117 reviews
Very good

Royal Tunbridge Wells, UK10 contributions
Sep 2017 • Solo
I had a fantastic and truly unforgettable whale watch experience with Dolphin Pacific diving. Al was very organised, approachable, and has great equipment and staff working for him. Matt was a great guide, good at getting the whales to interact with us in the water and understood their behaviour well. I was very impressed at how respectful the staff were with the whales. They knew how to interpret when whales did and did not want to interact and be disturbed. Sekona, our skipper, was exceptional at finding the whales and negotiating with other skippers. Because of this, we were always one of the first boats to find the whales in the morning, ensuring good swims. The boats were also well equipped for whale watching.

I was fortunate to have some amazing swims on the days that I had booked to go whale watching. One of my favourite swims included encountering a heat run where one female was being chased by around 15 males. This was exceptional as I was able to be a couple of feet away from all of the whales swimming past, completely un-phased by our presence. Additionally, I really enjoyed being able to swim with singers. On one incident, I encountered two males singing together which finished off with an extraordinary interaction of both of them swimming around us, as if to investigate our presence. This was humbling as to how spatially aware the whales were with us alongside them in the ocean, and gave us true perspective of their size. Finally, I loved being able to observe the mother and calfs. It was truly magical seeing the mother's care over them and observe how inquisitive they were towards us.

Even on days when finding the whales was slow, Vava'u is such a beautiful group of islands to travel round. I really enjoyed stopping off at islands with white sands and swimming in beautifully clear blue water. I would definitely recommend booking with Dolphin Pacific but also advise to book a couple of days minimum for swims, in case you happen to choose a slow whale day!

Thank you!!!


Written December 18, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Melbourne, Australia10 contributions
Oct 2016 • Friends
My experience with Dolphin Pacific diving began through my Whales Underwater tour, and with 10 days on the Dolphin Pacific boats I have nothing negative to say. The team were nothing short of consistently helpful and accommodating. Alistair's hospitality makes you feel like a friend, not a customer.
I have had amazing experiences with the whales. We were always given the best encounters possible.
Following up from my Whales Underwater experience Alistair has gone above and beyond to make me feel at home for my remaining time in Neiafu Vava'u. An experience I will never forget and always be grateful of.
Written October 24, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Palmerston North, New Zealand4 contributions
Sep 2014 • Friends
I spent 5 days with the awesome staff at Dolphin Pacific (2 diving and 3 whale swimming) and I was blown away each time. Each day out I thought to myself "that was amazing, I'm glad I have more days to look forward to but surely it can't get better" and I am happy to report that each day I was wrong. Every swim we had with the whales was breathtaking (of course) but also unique. We had the opportunity to swim with mothers and calves, adult males and even a playful juvenile!

The diving was also excellent and no matter your level of experience they had a site to fit your interest. We did some very cool swim-throughs, visited a massive cave (ask about Shark Tooth Cave) and saw some neon pink anemones.

We interacted with all the staff throughout the week and suffice to say they are all excellent, it doesn't matter who you end up with, you will be well taken care of. The most important piece of advice I can think of is to bring an underwater camera (ideally multiple!) - our photos look like they are straight out of national geographic and believe me, it was not because of our photography skills!
Written September 10, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Freddie S
China55 contributions
Aug 2013 • Couples
We went on 4 trips with this operator, 3x whale swimming and 1x diving. First of all, the experience to swim with whales is breath taking, independently from the operator, as there are several ones, which are in contact with each other to find the spots where the whales are. We were lucky all 3 times to swim with them. So I will limit my report to the operation of Dolphin pacific, not to the whales. Most of the boats are equipped with toilets, but no towels, no water. That's a clear No Go, especially for Diving Trip, water is mandatory on a dive boat!! Shows a clear lack of responsibility. The lunch sandwich - sorry to say, it's a squashy piece of dough with a greasy something inside. With a little more effort even in a remote destination like Tonga,it could be improved. That's poor, compared with the quite high price of the trips.
Snorkeling Equipment is good, also diving equipment is quite new. The trips are of a varying quality, depending on the guides. Whale swim can't be planned, if they are stable and calm - fine. If they are moving: no chance. But we had the impression, that some of the guides are a bit too pushy to make the whale swim happen. First chasing the whales with the boat, even cutting their way, then chasing the people into the water, to swim to them, even if there was hardly any chance. That's exhausting and probably also not nice for the whales. Another annoying fact are the bigger groups at this operator. They have about 8 guests on board, while only four are allowed to swim with the whales at one time. Means, one group has to wait. If other whale boats are at the same spot, this extends the waiting time. There are other operators only taking 4 persons on the boat.
Summary: The experience with the whales are great, but there are other operators who provide a better service and seem to be more caring about the whales.
Written September 14, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Dear Sir, with such a disappointing review for us we feel that we should respond to clarify a few points. Obviously on Trip Advisor you have to take the rough with the smooth and we are more than willing to listen to constructive criticism and we will consider action on some issues you have raised. We are of course very sorry that the trip didn't meet your expectations and i would have loved the opportunity when you were here to address those concerns had I known about them. The water and food concerns . On our website , it states that customers should bring their own water. This is for various reasons. I certainly would be very surprised if a crew member had not given you some water during the day and if this is the case then please e-mail me directly. We take great responsibility in what we do and have a unblemished diving history. Again if you have read all the information provided on the FAQ section of our website, you will see that we do provide a 'complimentary' light lunch. As per the website this is usually a Panini with either , cheese , ham , tuna , chicken or egg plus salad filling. These are made daily with Panini's purchased at 6.30am from the local bakery. This bakery supplies all the operators in town with their panini's . I'm not quite sure a 'squashy piece of dough' does it justice. I will of course lambast the head of catering (also my partner) but I fear sure that she will not respond well to a ‘greasy something’ filling , I will however remind her not to shoot the messenger. You can of course get better and more substantial lunches , but this will cost you. We started this complimentary extra initially for us staff and then offered it to guests because as we leave so early it doesn’t really give people time to get their own food . Again on the website it states if you have an appetite please feel free to bring additional food. However, on to the serious stuff . When we are out around the whales we are subject to their behavior and have to work with them whatever they may be doing. A general statement that we 'chase' the whales is grossly unfair, misleading and inaccurate. We have no reason or desire to 'chase' whales as we know it achieves nothing. The incident you are referring to was when your boat was lucky enough to come across a group of males following a female in a 'heatrun' . This is where the males are competing against each other for the affection of the female . A quite spectacular sight above and especially below the water. In such an activity the whales move extremely fast and are focused on one thing and one thing only. To enable you to experiencing such an amazing sight we need to get ahead of the charging whales and to get you in the water in a position where you can swim over and watch them go past you . For those that are reading this and haven't seen the BBC Life series , this is exactly what we captured on film for the first time with them. It is extremely hard for the crew to get people into the right position and then into the water and everything happens so fast ...hence your comments on everything seeming rushed. It really then is a lottery if you see them ...but if you do it is an amazing experience having 6-8 whales around you . Nothing as we ever say is guaranteed but the crew will always be enthusiastic to share this with you . All of this has been experienced on days where the weather was challenging and our skippers needed to work extra hard to keep whales and guests safe, however we will address this with our crew as it seems you did not have a clear briefing or understanding of this. Our Tongan crew can be a little bit shy sometimes and with English as their second language might not always communicate as clearly as you would be used to. Group size , the standard group size in this industry is 8 people . Out of all the operators in Vava'u only two companies take out smaller groups, one is an island resort where you also have to stay there and the other is a local fisherman that fits in whale watching around his fishing charters. Should you wish to go on a boat with less people individual charters are available but these are required to be confirmed some months in advance . As you can see with other reviews on this site or crews have proven to be anything but uncaring about the whales to assume other companies are 'more caring about the whales' is a little unfair. As you can imagine i have taken great care in the last 9 years to surround myself with staff that are respectful to the whales. I personally am sorry you didn't have the experience you expected however you know that we did bend over backwards to make changes for you whilst you were here and i certainly would love to hear and welcome, constructive criticism where appropriate . Should you ever come back to Vava’u I will personally take you out to the whales.
Written September 17, 2013
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Buenos Aires, Argentina13 contributions
Jul 2014 • Couples
This was an amazing day trio swimming with the humpback whales....I never usually write reviews on tripadvisor unless it was that good that I would urge other people to go! We just got back from our day trip and have come straight online to write a must have been good!

We were lucky and saw a mother and her calf, swimming with them a number of times...and it was an incredible experience that I will never forget! It was amazing to see these beautiful and elegant creatures so close up and to swim with them for so long.

Al and his crew were so professional and real fun...nothing phased them and they were great at spotting the whales and no one was afraid in any way of getting in the water with them (something was a little concerned about because I am generally a bit nervous of sea creatures!)...but I was the first in!

Light lunch is provided and although there was no toilet today (waiting for a plumbing part to arrive to fix it!) they were more than happy to take me to a beautiful deserted beach...where we also got to do some snorkeling!

All in all an amazing day that I won't forget! Thanks for a great day Al and co!
Written July 18, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Debbie K
Auckland, New Zealand3 contributions
Aug 2013 • Couples
We were very impressed we found Dolphin Pacific to be very professional and very thorough with their safety checks of the dive equipment which was very good & was all laid out for us for easy access. They also ran through the safety equipment and the facilities of the boat. The explanations of the dive sights we were going to do and what we would see on our 2 dives.

My husband is an advanced diver but unfortunately I am not and I have always had trouble with my buoyancy. Chloe was absolutely magnificent and looked after me and didnt make me feel embarrassed. She was extremely kind and professional, she is very passionate about the whales and knows alot about them and the marine life. I have dived with many overseas companies and Dolphin Pacific and Chloe are by far the best, we were both very impressed.

The boat was spacious and very comfortable, they even have a toilet onboard!! A great lunch and drinks were provided.

Thanks for a wonderful experience

Debbie & Martin, Auckland, NZ
Written January 13, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Hugh S
Bowral15 contributions
Sep 2013 • Family
I was impressed by Dolphin Pacific Diving as a safe dive operator based in Vava'u. My 15 yo son completed his Open Water certification (did the online component before we left home) here and his trainer Chloe was very professional. I was impressed by Dolphin Pacific Diving's safety ethos, organisation and willingness to make our visit the success it was. Clear, warm water, little current and lots to see makes this an ideal base for the novice diver.
Written October 13, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Alison M
Melbourne, Australia2 contributions
Sep 2013 • Solo
This was my first trip to Tonga and first time swimming with whales, and I honestly couldn't have asked for anything better! Swimming with the beautiful humpback whales is such a humbling experience, it's difficult to describe how special it is.
The trip was organised by a friend who chartered a boat (including skipper and guide) through Dolphin Pacific Diving for four of us. We spent 7 days on the water (from around 8am - 4pm) and were able to swim with whales each day.
While I realise the presence of whales is out of the operators control, they did make every effort to find them for us (which wasn't an easy task in the rough - and apparently uncharacteristic - weather). Both skipper and guide worked hard to ensure we were comfortable, happy and safe. I appreciated their respect for the whales and the regulations - when they assessed that it wasn't right for us to get in the water (e.g. if the whales seemed stressed, or it was known that many other boats had been following them) this was clearly communicated to us and we moved on to look for others.
The skipper and guide were great - it felt like I was leaving friends behind at the end of our time there. No complaints of the service at all! I would definitely chose Dolphin Pacific Diving for next time!
Written October 1, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Shanghai, China4 contributions
Aug 2013 • Friends
3 of us went to Tonga all the way from Hong Kong to swim with the whales, definitely worth all the travelling and the $$! We picked dolphin pacific because of the good reputation. We went diving for a day and whale swim for 5 days. We are all very happy! Al, Claudia, along with the tongan crew are all very friendly and helpful. The diving was great, like the "split rock" and the "China Town" and the "sea fan" dive sites. We booked 5 days whale swim to ensure that we would have close encounters with the whales, and for all the 5 days, we have swam closely with the whales! We saw the heat run (a few males following a female), a group of 7 humpbacks, a mother and a calf resting near the surface, and also saw a single male singing! His singing was loud and I could feel the singers vibrating thru my body! Truly amazing and thanks to Dolphin Pacific, my dream came true.
Written September 3, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Beijing, China251 contributions
Aug 2013 • Solo
Small group 4 people, rich experience tour guides! I booked 3 days swimming with whales tour. Everyday was an amazing day! I can not believe that I could watch the baby playing with his mom so closely, almost zero distance! Lots of dolphins played with us as a extra bonus!
Written August 10, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Dolphin Pacific Diving and Whale Watching (Neiafu) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go