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“great whale experience”
Review of Fins 'n' Flukes Ltd. - CLOSED

Fins 'n' Flukes Ltd.
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Owner description: We are undergoing a change of ownership, apologies for any inconvenience this may cause. Activities to be confirmed.
Reviewed 16 July 2013

Swimming with whales is an amazing experience. We spent a week with Brian and Sabine and took their advice to book 3 whale swim trips. Despite some windy weather, their skilled boatmanship enabled us to be safely the water with whales on all days. Great snorkelling too, especially on the house reef (about 20 steps from our cabins). We couldn't fault our accomodation and they have a fantastic chef.

Thank Peter D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
FinsNFlukes, Owner at Fins 'n' Flukes Ltd., responded to this reviewResponded 21 August 2013

Hey, you get out what you put in.

We recommend 3 days minimum because if you have had the courage to make it this far into the pacific already what's the point in stopping when you arrive.

Give the whales the time they need and they will reciprocate. You might luck out on day 1, you might not, you might luck out on day 2 or you might not, you might luck out on day 3 or you might not so book five days instead in case you luck out on the fifth.

Nice to get some feedback on the house reef, thanks, it is pretty sweet! Especially at night1

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Reviews (124)
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13 - 17 of 124 reviews

Reviewed 14 July 2013

The whale watching and swimming with the whales is a privileged experience made more special with Brian and Sabine whom are very knowledgable and attentive hosts. The scuba diving is also excellent which adds a bit of variety when whale sightings can be variable at the start and end of season.

Unlike Vavau Haapai is less commercialised which adds to the experience.

Definitely the best place to stay which is far enough out of Pangai not to be disturbed at night by barking dogs which is a problem throughout Tonga. In fact this was the only place we had uninterrupted sleep. The accommodation at Fins,n,Flukes although backpacker style is clean and comfortable which is perfectly adequate after a day at sea. Tonga is a poor country surviving on a subsistence basis, there are no resorts so look elsewhere if pretentious bling is you thing.

One small detractor about the boat which could be a bit perturbing for some is the lack of any toilet which could be an issue when your at sea for 6 hours. Most travellers suffer stomach upsets at sometime which gives you 3 choices.

1) wait until you return to port

2) option 1 is not feasible when your busting so more than likely you may soil yourself.

3) relieve yourself in the sea hanging onto a rope ( its bio degrade able after all)

When we were there myself and some others had to take option 3, it's really not that bad as you don't care about the embarrassment when your desperate and no one wants to look anyway

A useful tip is to take off your wet suit 1st otherwise it can be a bit inconvenient as woman found out. Despite the lack of toilet option 2 & 3 was a novelty and amusement factor.

2  Thank reverend-spock
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FinsNFlukes, Owner at Fins 'n' Flukes Ltd., responded to this reviewResponded 21 August 2013

Uninterrupted sleep, wow. It is true, Tonga is noisy, the culture is noisy. Thankfully we have a quiet spot and we do our best to keep it quiet, very quiet. This involves man methods of capturing and removing native animals, including but not limited to pigs, dogs, horses, roosters, chickens, chickens that think they are roosters, geckos, crickets, geckos, fruit bats, more pigs, crickets, cows, donkey's, grunting fish, local rapstar parties, goats, wild jungle fowl, thirsty cows, cars, lorries, hermit crabs, terns, giant centipedes, black and white noddies, frigate birds, did I mention cows and the thirsty ones, cats, preying mantises's, it that can even be plural, Pacific Pidgeon, Kulu Kulu, Barn Owls and whales breathing close to the beach during the hours of night?

Noise reducing headphones will soon be added to our "what to bring to Tonga" list.

Addie, splashing noises from swimming pigs.

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Reviewed 29 May 2013

Although this is not 5 star accommodation it is the best for mid-priced accommodation and excellent situation for Pangai, Ha’apai Group. Welcoming, clean, good food, lovely sheltered beach. The coolest place on the island on the hammocks under the trees by the beach; treated to fresh coconuts by the gardener. 15 minute leisurely walk to the shops and café, just far enough outside not to be bothered by the night noises of dogs and roosters. As it’s mid-priced you get the choice of the extras or not – the other resorts have the same pricing system but they’re much more expensive and they’re a 30 km round trip to town down a bad road so your at the mercy of their food pricing. Matafonua, although beautiful, suffered from the onshore wind whereas Fins n Flukes was totally cool and calm. Poor old Brian – somebody said he’s weird – obviously never met an Irishman before! I didn’t get to do the diving or swimming with whales but its obvious these guys know their stuff and if there’s anywhere to learn to dive this is it - I would trust them completely.

Thank C K
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FinsNFlukes, Owner at Fins 'n' Flukes Ltd., responded to this reviewResponded 21 August 2013

It really is the coolest place, just keep an eye out for the Irish guy.

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Reviewed 9 March 2013

Fins and Flukes is a good company who gets you close to the whales without bothering them. They have the utmost respect for these magnificent creatures and you can tell that their passion for them is very strong. We had 4 whales suddenly begin to surface right below us. The experience was amazing even though I was saying "omg". But these graceful gentle giants easily maneuvered themselves around us without incident. It is such a cool feeling to see that the whales do what they want. Some of them swim away when the see people. Others swim towards the people and check them out with mutual curiosity. Truly awesome!

Thank David B
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FinsNFlukes, Manager at Fins 'n' Flukes Ltd., responded to this reviewResponded 11 March 2013

Thanks for your positive feedback, we are always happy when people respect our careful approach techniques to the whales. I too remember the moment all four of them turned on a penny in less than 12 meters of water and ascended directly beneath us, you weren't the only one thinking "omg" but that is the fascination these animals hold and despite several years working with the humpback whales in Ha'apai such moments never lose the WOW factor. It is also cool to read your comments about how the animals are free to decide if they should wish to interact with us or not. If they choose to it is amazing of course but those times when they don't wish to engage are a reality of the experience too, such as it is when you attempt to interact with any wild animal. If we ever feel a whale doesn't want us around then we leave it alone, period. It's not a zoo out here, the whales make the final decision in the end and a review like this helps to educate prospective whale watchers that swimming with these gentle giants doesn't work every time, but when it does you will never forget it! Understanding, and accepting, their freedom is a critical aspect of enjoying their experience, even when they choose to swim away from us. Fins "n" Flukes have never pressured the whales to meet unrealistic consumer expectations and with this ethical stance and careful consideration of their behaviour upon each and every approach we normally get positive feedback from the animals too! It's also great to get such a positive review from a senior contributor like yourself, you have obviously been so many places and seen so many things and to hear your comments that, in your opinion, we are doing this the right way is really lifting. Save the whales!

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Reviewed 20 February 2013

Went swimming with the whales twice with Fins n Flukes during the last whale season and it was the most amazing experience! Both times we managed to get in the water several times with a mother and her calf for lengthy periods.

Brian and his crew are very knowledgeable about the whales as well as the other marine life. The dive shop is clean and the equipment is good.

We also stayed at the Fins n Flukes lodge on one of the visits - the rooms are clean and neat and the chef made some delicious dinners.

1  Thank simbolism
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FinsNFlukes, Owner at Fins 'n' Flukes Ltd., responded to this reviewResponded 21 August 2013

Thanks, wait there is a whale breaching in front of the resort, will get back to you soon with a better response.

Thx.

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