Swimming with whales is the most beautiful experience, which can be hindered by faulty or incorrect equipment! In order to be properly prepared you need a good mask that fits your face well, a snorkel which is comfortable, and full footed soft fins that fit! Most outdoor or dive shops will have the equipment you need, but make sure you try each item on to make sure that you are comfortable. We have a few spares on board if anything happens, but bringing your own reliable equipment is the best option.
When swimming with whales we try to make as little noise and disturbance in the water as possible so we do not frighten them in our approach, because of this scuba diving fins that have an open foot design and require boots or socks are not suitable. The booties or socks make your feet more buoyant, causing you to make more of a splash when kicking. The optimum position in the water is to be able to sink your feet below the water level or swim with one shoulder lower than the other causing your feet to be below water level.
The water temperature in Tonga during the whale swimming months can drop to 22°C, which is lovely for a swim however when swimming with whales we aim for mutual interactions which often means just hanging out in the water around willing whales for an extended period of time and the lack of finning means you can get cold. It all depends on your inner thermostat and how cold you get, as to what type of wetsuit you need. We have a few 2mm short arm, short leg wetsuits available if you do not have your own. If you are wearing a wetsuit it is best to have a weight belt on to make you less buoyant- we have spare weights on board to use.
With the right equipment, the right crew (which we of course have) and the right attitude you will be in the best position for magical encounters with the whales!