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The Trip

Our Boat Kiwi Magic, is a comfortable, larger vessel with plenty of room to move around. As owner/operators we are able to make decisions on special departure and return times. Normal departure time is 7am and return is approximately 3pm.  The trip may also stop at several snorkelling spots if time allows. 

The Swim: If sea and weather conditions are favourable and the whales are settled we can then allow swimmers in the water. The guidelines stipulate that there can only be four swimmers and a trained guide in the water at any one time hence the reason we guarantee ONLY FOUR SWIMMERS on the boat for any charter. This maximises your chances of a swim.

We supply masks, snorkels, fins and a light buoyancy vest. A light lunch of noodles, fruit, cake, tea, coffee and drinking water is provided. You should bring any special items that may require with you. 

Our goals are to make sure that our Humpback Whales are able to continue on with their lives with little or no impact and to insure the safety of our guests at all times.


About Us

Pat and Keith McKee, expat New Zealanders, with their vessel Kiwi Magic have been operating in the waters of Vava’u since 1991.

When Keith, the owner/skipper, first noticed Humpback Whales breaching and lazing in Vava’u waters, he decided to add whale watching to his license. This began the evolution of the very successful whale swim and whale watch industry in Vava’u.

We, along with two other operators, Whale Watch Vava’u and Sailing Safaris worked closely with the Tongan Government, SPREP, Whales Alive, IFAW and other NGO’s to start to formulate the guidelines which were finally passed into Tongan Law in 2013. These guidelines are our recognised standard of conduct for all Watch Watch/Swim operators and as such have created a professional and successful industry which allows amazing encounters with our Humpback whales with the minimum of impact on their lives and environment.



About the Whales

The Humpback Whales travel from the Southern Ocean to the pristine waters ofVava’u every year, usually arriving in early July and leaving for the Southern Ocean again in late October.
When they arrive in Vava’u, they are here to mate and to give birth. If a female mates she will return the following year to give birth to her calf.  The calves are then fed by their mother through mammary glands for up to one year. When they are born, calves need to be taught to surface and breathe. They spend much of their time inTonga resting and feeding in preparation for their long journey back to Antarctica.
Protected from the ocean swells by inland waterways and sheltered reefs, the pristine waters of Vava’u with a normal visibility in excess of 30 meters allows for amazing experiences in one of the only places on earth where swimming with Humpback whales is allowed.
See mothers caring for their calves, teaching them to breathe and dive. When they are born, the calves are weak and cannot use their tails or flippers. Watch as the mother whales teach their calves to ride on their flippers up to the surface to breathe and down again. Humpback calves love to play, splashing and slapping the water to foam, then leaping in the air before flopping in the sea. Watch mother whales nursing their young as they roll on their sides so the baby can snuggle up to them and suckle milk. See huge male escorts, juveniles and experience a “heat run” where males compete for the female’s attention. Be part of this amazing chance to see nature in its own environment.
Many, who have had the opportunity of swimming or just seeing above water antics, are absolutely blown away and consider it a life changing experience.


Boat & Crew

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