In order to protect the whales and minimise the pressure on them while they are in Tonga, a set of regulations were written.
The official regulations can be downloaded HERE
It is important to understand that we are there to watch the whales and not to impose ourselves. We are looking for mutual interactions and not simpe “pass by” encounters. This may mean that we will only get into the water once we decide the whales actually want us there. With enough patience, you are guaranteed to have an encounter of a lifetime.
The guidelines in summary:
- Not more than 4 swimmers plus one certified guide in the water with the whales
- not more than 90 minutes in total with a mother and baby. After any one- and-a-half hour interaction, during which a service provider may leave the pod and another may interact with it, no vessel may attempt to interact with the pod for at least one and a half hours
- No boat may approach directly in front or directly behind the whales.
- No sheparding the whales
- No harassing of the whales
- One boat at a time with the whales
- Unlicensed vessels not allowed within 300m from the whales
- No person shall make any loud or disturbing noise near whales
- No person shall use Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (SCUBA) for diving or swimming with whales