Under the expert guidance of world renowned photographer & Kensington Explorer In Residence Amos Nachoum, learn the secrets to marine photographyand interact with the rare humpback whale.
Amos’s photos & films have been showcased in National Geographic, Discovery, BBC Wildlife, Time, Life, The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler & more.
As remarkable snorkeling and photography expedition with the gentle giants of Tonga: the humpback whales. The Kingdom of Tonga, an archipelago in the South Pacific, is an autumn home for humpback whales, which come to Tonga’s warm waters to breed, give birth, and care for their newborn calves. This migration produces one of the best opportunities to encounter the humpback in its natural environment. Using a rustic but equally beautiful island resort accommodation on the white sand beaches of the Vava’u Islands as your home base, you will board a thirty-foot vessel each day, along with an expedition team, in search of the whales and other impressive marine life. Free diving among the humpbacks, you can witness intimate parental humpback moments between mother and calf. The big humpback bulls, on the other hand, are typically busy making displays for onlookers with their tail-slapping and breaching. You may also get to experience some of the singing which whales are known to pass down for reinterpretation by each new generation. You’ll learn wide-angle lens techniques that expedition leader Amos Nachoum has adapted for photographing whales, equipping you with new skills to swim safer and closer and take better pictures of these magnificent animals. This wonderfully rare experience is not one to pass up.
A transfer is provided between the Nadi Airport and you airport hotel.
The Fiji Orchid hotel is located 15 minutes drive north of Nadi International Airport and 10 minutes south of Lautoka. The setting is stunning — in a tropical environment in the foothills of the volcanic Nausori Highlands and close to Saweni Beach, one of Fiji's most beautiful stretches of sand and sea. The highlight, however, is the property's own surroundings — in five acres of tropical gardens that showcase an extraordinary number and variety of magnificent orchids. With only six villas, Fiji Orchid is very private and exclusive. The property incorporates a restaurant, bar and lounge area, a boutique and a large swimming pool.
This morning, you will be picked up from your hotel around 9am and driven up to the mountains known as the Garden of the Sleeping Giants. Along the way you will pass through several cane fields and valleys. Nestled at the foot of these mountains is the ancestral village of Nalesutale which is the first Christian village converted from cannibalism almost 200 years ago. Join the chief and his people in a traditional kava ceremony which will take place in a traditional Fijian House known as a Bure. You will then be given an opportunity to talk to the chief and take photos with the villagers of Nalesutale. Then take a guided trek through the rainforest to see the ancestral cave, learn about traditional medicine and swim in the cool, cascading waterfalls. Lunch will be served either at the waterfalls or the village. Lunch consists of BBQ fish, sausages with a side dish of rou-rou (spinach), local fresh vegetables, fruits and local juices. You will then have the option of horse riding, or joining the womenfolk of the village in mat weaving and other art and craft or fishing by the river. After this you will be whisked away to the Sabeto therapeutic warm mud pool for a therapeutic mud bath and Fijian “bobo” massage. You will return back to your hotel around 5:30pm.
Together with Kensington Tours, world renowned photographer Amos Nachoum’s expeditions take him and a small group of exclusive travelers throughout the world to observe, photograph, and revere the most magnificent creatures on the planet. He has led multiple many high-profile National Geographic expedition teams, including National Geographic’s Red Sea, Great White Shark, and Killer Whale photo expeditions. Amos’s photos and essays have appeared in hundreds of publications around the globe, including National Geographic, Time, Life, The New York Times, and many more.
Under the expert guidance of Amos, learn the secrets to spellbinding wildlife photography, as well as have the chance to interact with some of the most exciting animals on the planet — great white sharks, polar bears, blue whales, sailfish, snow leopards, the sardine run and more — Amos will help you capture their true essence in the most spectacular wildlife photographs you’ll ever take.
Flight from Nadi to Tongatapu Airport.
Welcome to Vava'u! Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met by exhibition team members who will transport you via water taxi to the rustic Blue Lagoon beach resort. Here you will meet the full team, and talk strategy. The rest of the day is at leisure, allowing you to prepare for tomorrow morning: your first day at sea.
Meet your driver for an airport transfer by car and by water taxi.
Blue Lagoon Resort is situated on the island Foi'ata in the Vava'u group of islands, Tonga. Surrounded by crystal turquoise water, white sandy beaches and tropical rainforest, Blue Lagoon Resort is a paradise island like no other. Whale watching & swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, fishing, surfing and sailing are just some of the activities available. Otherwise just relax in a hammock or sun bank on one of Tonga's most beautiful beaches overlooking our famous lagoon.
For the next 9 days you will join your expedition team on board the Hakuna Matata each morning (weather permitting), as the team enters the open waters of the Pacific for whale watching and free diving opportunities. The Hakuna Matata is a 30 foot ship, 10.5 feet across, and holds up to 8 people.
Take a break for a moment and dig in to your boxed lunch on board the boat (included in tour price).
Join your crew for another day on the Hakuna Matata. Do some free diving and keep an eye out for the beautiful bond of a mother humpback and her calf.
While out at sea, watch as Amos provides helpful instructions how to improve your photographs in the crystal clear water, offering up to 100 feet of visibility. You'll be amazed at the images you get!
Keep an eye out for breaching humpback bulls. These males can jump right out of the water, and make a thundering splash as they show off for any nearby females.
Male humpback whales are known to perform extravagant songs as they sing in yearning for their heart's desire. If you are lucky, you may experience this during a free dive.
Enjoy another day out on the South Pacific Ocean aboard the Hakuna Matata. Try to capture photographs of the slapping tail of a humpback on the water's surface.
Keep your eyes open for various species of exotic marine life that you can see with the 100 feet of underwater visibility in this area of the South Pacific. They're bound to excite!
Free dive for an up close look at a calf's playful side as it explores it's new world, always keeping mother nearby of course.
Board the Hakuna Matata once again for a journey out into the Pacific Ocean. How many of the gentle giants can you spot?
Join your team this morning for one last trip out to see the humpbacks. Make sure you get that perfect picture to put an exclamation point on this unforgettable adventure.
Check-out and depart the Blue Lagoon Resort by water taxi back to the Vava'u airport.
Please note obtaining a visa is your responsibility. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check with the Embassy of the Republic of Fiji for the most up to date visa information.
VISA/PASSPORTA passport and an onward/return ticket are required for both US and Canadian citizens. Visas are not required for stays of up to 30 days for US citizens. Canadian citizens using Canadian passports do not require a visa to enter Tonga for tourism stays under ninety 90 days. Tonga collects a departure tax. For further information about entry requirements, travelers, particularly those planning to enter by sea, may wish to contact the Consulate General of Tonga.
Please note obtaining a visa is your responsibility. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check with the Embassy of Tonga for the most up to date visa information.
HEALTHHealth insurance is required. Medical facilities are poor quality and not widespread. We recommend that you see a health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine. The doctor or health-care provider will determine what vaccinations and medication you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities. For more information on travel requirements, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/tonga.aspx COUNTRY INFOCapital: Nuku’alofa. Government: Constitutional monarchy. Gained full independence within the Commonwealth in 1970. Language: Tongan and English. Religion: Wesleyan Church, Roman Catholic and Anglican. Small denominations of Muslim, Baha’i and Mormon faiths. Time: GMT + 13. Electricity: 240 volts AC, 50Hz. Telephone: Country code +676. There are no area codes. Mobile Telephone: Coverage is limited to Nuku’alofa. No roaming agreements exist. Internet: There are Internet cafes in Nuku’alofa.
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