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I have recently watched a few videos and I got totally hooked. Here is an example: I already did some research and it seems there are two places in the world where you can do it: Tonga and Silver Bank in Dominican Republic. It seems to be strictly controlled e.g. number of people in the water (in Tonga it is only 4), no scuba diving but only snorkeling, no whale harassment, etc. And it seems there is very limited amount of companies that have license to provide the service e.g. only three ships in Silver Bank. And all of those companies have biologists on board. They all claim that the interaction is done 100% on whale's wish to interact with humans and they warn in advance that the experience is not guaranteed as it is all about whales. But I just want to be sure that I am not going to support any non ethical activity. Have you heard something about it? What do you think?
penolva posted a topic in Worldwide@@bettel and @@Tom Kellie - as promised We saw a brief mention on The Rough Guide TV programme that you could swim with whales, legally, in only two places in the world. Having been whale mad for years and spending some time watching them from boats in Alaska, Canada, California, Tenerife and Scotland we were both immediately captivated by the idea. We had no idea you could even do it. The power of TV. The fact that I couldn't swim more than a couple of strokes having been terrified of deep water since a child, you know the swimming teacher that pushes you under to 'teach you', and an incident as a young mum when I went down for the third time caught by a rip tide in St Ives before being pulled out by my hair, made me decide that swimming was not for me. I had to learn to snorkel, swim in deep water if we were to go to Tonga which is the best place to swim with humpback whales. It is also the most beautiful and friendly islands with lovely people. After several lessons and a great deal support from my better half, who is a fantastic swimmer, I beat my fears and snorkel, flippers and swimming gear in hand we flew to New Zealand from UK and then onto Tonga on 20 September 2010 to make our dream come true. I have dug out the old photographs, taken with a point and shoot and a small underwater camera - no Go Pro at that time - and a poor quality video camera. These will be all I can offer to try to show the best experience of my life. To swim beside a female humpback with her calf is life changing. Nothing will ever frighten you again as that calm, beautiful, intelligent animal will look you in the eye and into your soul and you really do make a connection. We flew with Air New Zealand and onto Tongatapu Nuku'Alofa a couple of days later after a stay in Auckland to get over the long journey. A 3am taxi to Auckland airport to catch the ANZ flight went smoothly. At Tongatapu we did a short tour of the island to see the royal palace, markets, schools etc before catching our Chatham Pacific flight to Vava'U. Another airline flies the route these days but then it was a very old jet with no door to the flight deck. We flew over some beautiful islands and began to realise we really were somewhere very special on the other side of the world.
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