Return to NAI'A

Humpbacks of Tonga, part II
Date: August 14 - 23, 2004
Destination: Ha'apai, Tonga
Returning Passengers: Lindon & Robin Crow, Rick & Jessica Itzkowich, Rick & Ellen Krogh

A whale spy-hops to get a top-side view of the snorkellers.

Ellen Krogh and Jean O'Neill get ready to dive in.   Snorkeller's view of a humpback.

In the skiff — close enough to feel the whale snot!

Another bumper trip for whales helped six NAI’A veterans and twelve NAI’A newbies dare to manifest their dreams”. Nine days of glorious weather, an incredibly positive attitude, and more whales than you could poke a stick at ensured that this group, lead by Lindon Crow and Rick Itzkowich of Productive Learning & Leisure, had the just about the best of everything. We couldn’t have had a better start to the trip with two close in-water encounters on our first day in Ha’apai. As the trip continued, Jean and Kay lead the snorkel team in trying to wear out NAI’A’s Richard, while Pat & Genie ensured Jioji racked up enough in-water time to keep his gills from drying out. Diana and Jeannine got almost too close for comfort while hanging over the bow (with Liz behind the camera recording some very entertaining audio). On the scuba front, some great new sites were discovered, with an occasional whale appearance and extra morning dives for this group of eager beavers. And speaking of eager beavers, a giant southern petrol – or was it an albatross? – joined us at our afternoon anchorage where first it attacked Josh and Richard much to the delight of the crowd, and later received a timely escort to nearby Hakauata Island before the circling sharks could get a feathery meal. The most memorable moment of the trip? - was it the day-long interaction with a pod of large male humpbacks… or was it the unfathomable amount of ice cream Mark was able to ingest? The former pod became more numerous and boisterous as the day wore on, continually making liars of those of us foolish enough to declare them “due to wear out and split up anytime now”. The group numbered 13 at its peak and surrounded the skiffs, blowing “whale snot” all over the appreciative NAI’A crowd. All-in-all the experience was “even better than the last trip!” according to Rick and Ellen. (Now how are we ever going to out-do this trip the next time round…)

Visiting a deserted island for sunset.

Patricia Donlin.   Rick Itzkowich.

Mark Nicole kicks himself for bringing so many balloons!


Each of you have given a piece of yourself and I have stowed it away in my memory to be cherished for years to come. It was said during our trip that this boat and crew are among the best in the world, and from my experience I have to believe it is true. Thank you all for your generous hospitality, the wonderful food, your countless warm smiles and the experience of a lifetime! Malo!
Mark Nicole, San Diego CA

From the first night onboard when my dream of sailing the South Pacific was fulfilled, I knew this trip would be about living out dreams and it seemed that every night the gently rocking of the NAI'A added fuel to those dreams. So, thank you ... and tell the whales thank you, too!
Jeannine O'Hagan, Oregan City OR

Phenomenal experience! Thanks for taking such good care of us and showing us a great time!
Diana Dron, Orange CA

Our whale encounters were breath-taking! Thank you, thank you thank you!
Abby & Jack Parsons, Claremont CA

I have had a fantastic trip on the NAI'A. All aspects of the trip went so well, and the friendliness and caring of the entire crew made it extra special. I thank Liz and Josh for being our 'group leaders' - they are always on, seeing to all of the big and little details that make the logistics of a trip like this go smoothly. My greatest thanks go to Jioji for taking me out snorkeling - such a fabulous experience, and he has been so kind and careful in helping me, he really does have a big heart. Thanks to each and every member of the crew for making this trip a dream come true for me.
Pat Donlin, La Crescenta CA

I had a spectacular vacation at sea the past 9 days! I can't thank you enough for the yummy food, the gracious hospitality, the helpfulness provided to me as a novice snorkeler, and the fun singing. It was a great time, thank you so much!
Genie Dee, Los Gatos CA

The gang.

Abby Parsons.   Kay Hyndman.


Soft coral ghost goby.

Lindon Crow.

Jeannine O'Hagan.


Diana Dron.

Jessica Itzkowich & Robin Crow accept bilos of kava.

Jack Parsons.

Genie Dee & Ron Morin.

Lindon A. Crow.

Rick & Ellen Krogh.

Virginia Lukei.

Sea urchin close-up