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!