The waters around Ha'apai are pure and clear. Normal visibility is between 30 - 40 metres and sometimes more. Temperatures range from 23-24º in the winter to 28º in the summer. A 5mm wetsuit in the winter is all you’ll need.
Many of the dive sites are in sheltered waters but some are in open water outside the barrier reef, providing encounters with pelagic sharks, tuna, trevally and barracuda. You’ll see turtles on many dives, as well as eagle rays, sea snakes and myriad tropical reef fish.
Diving the reefs, you’ll find caves, canyons, caverns and tunnels to explore, vertical walls, fast flowing passes and colourful coral gardens. Huge sea caves and complex underwater cave systems and a truly incredible coral arch can all be found around the island of 'Ofolanga. Hard corals dominate the reefs and there are also gorgonian fans and soft corals and hundreds of fish species.
From July to October, humpback whales can often be spotted from the dive boat as these magnificent creatures migrate through Tongan waters to mate and calf.
Dive sites of Northern Haapai
Dive Sites Map Courtesy: Brian Heagney
Max depth 28m, overhead and enclosed environments.
Exciting swim throughs, massive overhangs, winding tunnels and huge coral bommies are the main features of this dive. Divers begin on the inside of the reef before making their way through the reef to the outer face amid throngs of reef fish and amazing coral. Eagle rays and white tips can sometimes be seen in the depths outside the reef, and there are lots of macro critters here as well, including the unusual Whip coral shrimps and Bubble Coral Orangutan
Max dive depth 25 M, basic dive, mild currents a possibility.
Diving through the coral heads adorning each side of the Haanno – Nukanamu channel, this is a great dive for macro and critter lovers. Hiding among the coral are scribbled pipefish, splendid gobies, nudibranchs and curious mantis shrimps. The resident Leopard shark often ghosts through the channel, and if you’re lucky you might just find the secretive honeycomb moray.
Hot Spring Cave
Max dive depth 30M, Overhead environments, deep diving, experienced divers preferred.
Beneath Ofalanga Island is a massive cave, the entrance lying at 25 metres, the main chamber at 28metres and the ceiling rising to 15 meters. A smaller chamber embraces a hydrothermal vent, which spouts hot water occasionally.
The Arch of Ofalanga
Max dive depth 30M, overhead and enclosed environments.
The coral arch of Ofalanga was formed in the last ice age and it is one of the most mystifying dive spots in the South Pacific. Gliding beneath the 20 metre wide, 15 metre high arch into the cave entrance tunnel. You’ll find huge lobsters clinging to the roof and sides.
Max depth 30m+, Canyon dive .
A series of huge coral outcrops on the reef wall create gigantic canyons falling away to the abyssal depths. Here you’ll find nice canyons, some caves and lots and lots of coral. The drop offs attract large fish and Barracuda, Grey Reef Sharks, Turtles, Grouper and Snapper have all been spotted here.
Whale Watching and Whale Swimming
To swim with a 45 ton whale in its natural environment is a truly exhilarating experience.
From mid June – end September, humpback whales migrate from southern waters to the warm Tonga ocean for mating and calving. Many remain in the Ha’apai group for some time, and the dive operator in Ha'apai is able to follow and research these amazing mammals. The whales can choose to avoid or ignore dive boats, but often they will approach boats and the possibility is there for close observation and potentially an in-water encounter.
While they can't guarantee to get you in the water with the humpbacks, they will do their best to give you this life-changing experience.
Sometimes the whales simply swim past snorkellers, sometimes changing course to get a closer look before moving off, and sometimes they’ll stay to play. Occasionally there is interaction between snorkellers and a mother and calf.
Strict guidelines are in place to ensure the safety of the snorkellers and the well-being of the whales. There will be no more than 4 snorkellers plus guide in the water at a time, wetsuits or other buoyancy aids are to be worn by everyone, snorkellers must remain at least 5 metres away from the whales, and splashing or excessive movements are forbidden.
Contact us; let us know your interests, and we’ll put together your ideal dive package. Remember - We’ve dived there!