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“Amazing, outstanding and the best dive experience I've had”

Ha'apai Divers At Matafonua Lodge Resort
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Owner description: See trip advisor reviews under Matafonua Lodge most reviewers use the resort link to review our whale watching and diving center. Fully Licensed Diving and Whale watching business located on the grounds of Matafonua Lodge Visiting some of the most stunning dive sites in Tonga .
Melbourne, Australia
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Amazing, outstanding and the best dive experience I've had”
Reviewed February 20, 2013

Darren, Gary and Jodie were amazing. the boat and gear is all near new and the professionalism far exceeds what is to be expected. the dive sights were second to none and the need to produce a sea turtle on demand outstanding. Darren said they were rare but would try his hardest, and the most amazing sea turtle experience is what we received. Darrens local knowledge and obvious experience was great. thanks for such an amazing time.... we absolutely loved it and next time we will be back to stay at matafonua as well!!!

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Katey R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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39 reviews from our community

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English first
Manly, New South Wales, Australia
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“Time of my life !”
Reviewed August 8, 2012

“Swimming with Whales - the time of our lives !!”
Reviewed 6 August 2012 NEW
"Matafonua, Matafonua, Matafonua... You wont beliiiiiiiiiive the day we have had" an excited Darren exclaimed to his wife Nina over the two way radio from our boat.......

When your fearless "captain", a veteran of whale swims makes a comment like this, it really cements the fact you have just been a part of something very special.

When I booked to go to Tonga to go swim with the whales, I really did not give a second thought to what the experience would be like. I had no idea what was in store for me.

What I didn't realise at the time I booked is that there a few places in Tonga to swim with whales. By pure chance I had managed to book the one place where there are only a couple of boats operating in the area. PERFECT ! We could pick and choose the whales we wanted with no competition or time restraints.

One of the aussie girls on our boat on the first day made the comment " I thought I would just be able to walk down to the beach and whales would be everywhere ", to which Caleb ( one of the guides on our boat ) mocked '' release the whales " , a catch-cry that would ring out a few times over the next few days.

Whales are wild animals, and rather large playful ones at that. Every year humpback whales make the journey to Tonga to give birth and raise their calves in warm safe waters, protected from predators.....

Over the few days we spent out on the boat, we not only swam with whales, but we were educated on some of the behaviors or humpback whales, oh, and also became fully fledged "whale spotters".

We learnt how to spot whales, screening the horizon for water spouts, tail slaps, pectoral fins waving or in the most exciting scenario, the spectacular full breach as these enormous creatures launched themselves high out of the water... it was pretty hard to miss that !

From reading and hearing about others whale encounters over the week, it was really obvious to me that we had just had the most amazing experience.

On our very first day out, we were in and out of the boat so many times to swim with the whales that we were like a crew of "Navy seals" suiting up in mere moments to get in the water.
Seconds count when whales are on the agenda. We had it down to a fine art form.

In the end we just kept our fins and masks on and shuffled around the boat tripping over each other haha

At the days end, we would have been happy if that were our one and only day on the boat as we swam so with so many whales and it was incredible.

Never in our wildest imagination did we expect what would happen on our second day out on the boat.........

We had a few short swims with a couple of whales throughout the morning. Nothing too exciting compared to our first day.

After lunch not far from Robison Crusoe island we were in for the surprise of our lives.
A curious and playful adult whale joined us for quite some time, and boy was it fun ( and scary ).

As I posted earlier in the week, before long, Darren calls out from the boat, " THERE ARE MORE COMING".....

Four more whales decided to join in on the fun.

WOW....It was frightening to say the least.

Our eyes were glued to these whales as we scrambled, back-tracked and froze to ensure we were not in the direct path of a giant whale rising up from the depths, or a tail flipping around in the water ......

They were having as much fun with us as we were with them.

They carried on like playful puppies .... reallllllly big playful puppies. Rolling over, racing around in circles, popping their heads up and swimming right at us...... It was incredible.

Our encounter with these whales carried on for around an hour, although that memory will carry on forever. Totally unforgettable and still unbelievable.

What incredible creatures...........

Thank you Darren, Nina, Caleb and Brett for looking after us and making our trip so much more than we had evern imagined !

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
Thank EmmaH559
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NZ
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Amazing”
Reviewed April 14, 2012

We looked at a lot of places trying to make our mind up about where to go in the South Pacific. We have a 8 year old and a four year old. A friend recommended this place. He had been with his young family a few years before and they were dying to get back. The place is at the tip of Foa. There are two beaches on either side of resort and a deserted island in front. They have kayaks and snorkeling gear. The beaches are pristine. The place could not have been more beautiful. The trip could not have been better. We will go back.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
3 Thank Mike C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level 5 Contributor
44 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Fantastic opportunity to swim with whales”
Reviewed November 26, 2010

We spent the day with Glenn and Janey, they were excellent and knowledable hosts and we were fortunate to be able to swim witht he whales which was an absolute highlight of our trip.

Helpful?
2 Thank kinacollector
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Christchurch, New Zealand
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Wow. Swimming with the whales is not to be missed neither is a dive trip with Darren and Nina”
Reviewed October 18, 2010

We had a great 2 days out whale watching and our children continue to talk about swimming with the whales. An amazing experience. Thanks Glenn, Jane and Sam.
Never to be forgotten is a first dive experience with Darren and Nina. Thanks for everything; I have never seen smiles so wide on our children s faces. Fun and fabulous sum you both up.

Helpful?
1 Thank anlaing
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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