Mounu Island, about half an hour from the main harbour in Vavau, is about as good as it gets as an island paradise. Four private, Tongan style bungalows on a pristine island it takes about an hour to amble around. Fine white sand sprinkled with palm trees, surrounded by clear, emerald blue water and virtually immediate access to the whales that parade past the main fale’ while you’re enjoying a meal (not advertising copy here. As you can read from my previous entry, this is exactly as it unfolded for me). Allan Bowes leases the island. Often barefoot, heavily bearded (by his own admission, strikingly similar to one of the boys in ZZ Top) and clearly just comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt, he, his wife Lin, their daughter Kirsty and one very cute dog (I think it was Otto) left to them by the late King Siaosi Tupou V run the island. And, understandably, they’re passionate about the whales. If I was to recommend the best way to “do the whales in Tonga”, staying on Mounu Island would be my top choice. And, I’d take Allan’s advice. If I didn’t want to be disappointed by the possibility of not swimming with the whales due to inclement weather or no sightings, I’d allocate three days, not one, to the experience. Best time to come: August through to October – with August probably the best month to be here.
Cost to stay at Mounu: I think Kirsty mentioned about AUD$350 a night (best look it up: www.mounuisland.com) or about AUD$1,000 for the three days which, assuming the whales do their part, would be money well spent in my books for such an amazing wildlife experience.