Tonga – Ocean Voice Great Whales

I just returned from several weeks of filming in the Kingdom of Tonga with my partner John Weller. We are working on a global project, The Ocean Voice Film Series, addressing conservation issues and strategies at all levels of the ecosystem. This stop of the project took us back to the Kingdom of Tonga, located as far as one can get from a continent in the South-Central Pacific.

With the invaluable help of our good friend Tony Wu, we returned again this year to complete the filming and documentary work. As with last year, the weather proved to be a real challenge. For all but perhaps a day, the wind howled over the islands, driven by a strong high-pressure cell to the south of us. Fortunately for us, and in stark contrast to last season, this year was a banner year for mothers and calves, with total ID’d calves running at twice the running average. Capitalizing on this, we managed some stunning encounters which again, created lifetime memories for both John and I.

The following are a selection of images. Enjoy!

Vava'u Island Group in Tonga Kingdom

Calf Rises Slowly to Greet Us While Mother Watches from Below

Humpback Calf Playfully Approaches in Tonga Blue Water

Humpback Calf Breaches As We Pass By

Mother and Calf Swim over Reefs in 40 Meters of Vis

Calf Playfully Swims Past as Mother Chase After

Tail Shot from Zero Meters - How Small is Baby Compared to Mom!

Calf Rises into Sun Rays With Mother Tailing Behind

Water Pours from Mothers Mouth as She Breaches

Breaching Whale Throwing Scissor Maneuver

John Weller Likes Big Lenses

Marshall Lally Grinning After Day with Whales

Stunning Hard Coral Formations of Tonga Reefs

Calf and Mother on Surface Over Shallow Reef

Mother and Calf Drifting By

Mother and Calf Humpback Rise from Shallow Reef

White Sided Mother with Calf

Humpback Calf Twirls Below

Curious Calf Playing on Surface

Calf Rolls and Twists on Surface

Close Up of Curious Calf

Calf Rolls Over for Better Look as Mother Swims Below

Good Bye Whales 🙁

HDR View of Harbor in the Morning

HDR Pigs - They are Everywhere in Tonga!

Enormous Spider That Could (and Would) Eat You!

Close Encounter With Yearling - a First for Us

Nose to Nose with Mother and Calf

Fisheye Lens - VERY Close to Pectoral Fin!

Calf Injured by Unidentified Source

Mother Rises to Great Playful Calf

There are Mantas (alfredi) in Tonga!

Islet with Abandoned Military Post - Surrounded by Tonga Blue

What Can I Say!

Tidal Pools with Perpetual Waterfalls

John Weller Filming One of the Most Beautiful Islands We Have Visited

Harbor View from Paradise Hotel

Milky Way Over Harbor with Diver in Water

Till Next Time!

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3 Responses to “Tonga – Ocean Voice Great Whales”

  1. Emad September 9, 2011 at 10:32 pm // Reply

    Nice !

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  2. John Fanai September 9, 2011 at 11:06 pm // Reply

    This is amazing ! I have few friend from Tonga. They always told me how beautiful the sea, the island is ! Those pig must be roasted soon huh ? 🙂

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  3. Oleg April 7, 2012 at 10:09 am // Reply

    Great photos!!! The whales and it’s calfs amazing!!!! I saw ones in Socorro Isl. in Mexico but not too close. Can you tell me the site and the name ship in Tonga?
    Sorry for my ugly English

    Regards
    Oleg

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