Itinerary

SC EXPLORER Operates out of Pangai on the island of Lifuka in the Ha’Apai Island group. We pick up and drop off to the airport or hotel. Flight bookings from NukuAlofa to Pangai through REAL TONGA.

Humpback Whales begin arriving in July and immediately start calving in the sheltered waters of the Ha’Apai group. Calves are a little cautious this month but start to relax in August. All around you hear whale songs and the mating begins again. By September calves are growing fast and become very inquisitive about their new world. By early October as the water warms and the calves become stronger they all turn south for Antarctica.

Remembering that SC EXPLORER can commence a voyage from Vavau or Nuku Alofa our Expedition itineraries usually commence and conclude in the Ha’Apai island group and include new anchorages each night. During the Whale season, the daily focus is on Humpback Whale interactions and life changing experiences for you. Ultimately as the sun drops we head for an island or reef anchorage fishing all the way. Anchor set- time to play. If possible we investigate a suitable Scuba dive site for those up for it, while others explore the island, go free diving amongst vibrant corals, paddling or sit back to enjoy a book, or sort the epic videos and pictures just shot amongst the magnificent whales.

Late afternoon sundowners are the order of the day and sunsets are often to die for in your own exclusive anchorage, preceding a wonderful dinner in the cockpit. We use as much fresh local produce as possible and feature fresh seafood. Under a blanket of stars, you will relive the day’s activities or ponder the meaning of life, or just maybe tomorrow! Whale swimming can be a life changing experience and each interaction is always different.

If you have never sailed before we can teach you. Want to know more about navigation, knots, voyage planning then just ask. If you would rather sit back and enjoy the ride, go ahead! Maybe you have never sailed in a catamaran or are thinking of buying one, then this could be a great trial adventure! If you want to bring your own toys, we have plenty of room.

If time and weather permit, a visit to the island of Tofua with it’s active Volcano and Bligh’s Cave (Mutiny on the Bounty) may be possible, while calling into the Royal Nomuka Yacht Club and the Marine Discovery Centre site on the Island of Nomuka IKI is scheduled for most voyages.

For greater enjoyment we recommend you bring your own mask, snorkel, fins and 3mm shortie wet suit. You do not need to be a strong swimmer to swim with whales. We supply a buoyancy aid if required and you are closely guided. Your first up front and personal interaction with a 30 tonne Humpback mother and calf can be both breathtaking and daunting, but you will live that memory forever. Do it now.

  • SC EXPLORER is truly an ocean going vessel having sailed from France. By arrangement you can design your own custom expedition exploring and diving throughout the entire Kingdom from Nuku Alofa to Vavau. Whale swimming is only available in the Ha’Apai Island group. The possibilities are endless. Special interest groups of any passion especially catered for.
  • Prices include all food and non-alcoholic drinks, all activities on board and ashore, use of our Kayak/SUP and up to four Scuba dives (7-day voyage) during whale season if conditions allow. Long boards for hire to experienced riders only.
  • Guests may bring their own alcohol on board, or it can be pre-ordered from our supplied list and placed on board.
  • Expeditions start with 1330hrs pick up day one, seven nights then to drop off 0930hrs day eight. (or by arrangement). Alternate pick up and drop ports are available.
  • Actual Daily Itinerary is at the exclusive option-discretion of captain and all activities are subject to weather and local conditions at the time. Safe operations take precedence at all times.
  • Specific Diving expeditions can be organised with multiple dives per day inclusive. Please enquire !
  • You must have a current dive medical and dive ticket if SCUBA diving. We supply tanks, weights and air.
  • SC EXPLORER is a non-smoking vessel. Electronic smoking devices are accepted.
  • 220V European plugs and 12 V DC are available on-board for camera and computer charging.
  • All guests must have travel insurance with evacuation cover and Scuba endorsement if diving.
  • Be aware these voyages are remote location expeditions, some distance from immediate medical support. Bring your own drugs and toiletries and a spare set of glasses.
  • All must sign an indemnity form on board covering all activities and consent for the Captain to act in your best interests in any medical emergency.
  • Mobile phone and Internet access is sometimes available from many anchorages (not guaranteed) throughout the Islands, via a local sim card you need to purchase before arrival.
    EXPLORER also has satellite communications for emergencies only.
  • Pre departure information once you have booked includes location and weather advice, suggested clothing to bring and books/web sites to check out before arrival. This helps prepare you for your experience and assist in gaining the most from your expedition/holiday. There is also a personal questionnaire about food, medical conditions, allergies, next of kin, living on board advice, using toilets and protecting the environment.
  • NOTE- On eight person charters, three cabins have en-suite bathrooms and one cabin has share facilities with the crew. All cabins are either double or twin berth. On an 8 person charter the extra people often requires an extra crew member on-board so total 11 will sail on EXPLORER.
  • On all Chinese expeditions you will also be accompanied by Suijuan Zhou.