Trips - Tonga Trip

Robert Torelli has been running spearfishing charters throughout Australia and the South Pacific for the past 20 years. He has run nine expeditions to the Kingdom of Tonga and most of these were to the north at Vavau. Robert has always had an "eye out for the perfect charter destination" to invest in and when he came across Tonga tapu in the south of Tonga he figured this was "the spot".

Rob met with a local charter operator named Ben Carlson who was leaving Tonga and heading back to the US after 10 years of diving in Tonga. Rob was impressed with Bens diving skills, (a genuine competent 30+ meter diver who has speared some excellent fish in Tonga) and his intricate knowledge of the area surrounding Tonga tapu. Ben was moving on and selling his charter boat.


Rob figured this was the perfect opportunity to invest in a world class destination for spearfishing and capitalise on Bens 10 years' experience. Before long, a deal was made and Blue Water Hunting International purchased Bens custom built dive vessel. BWHI were even lucky enough to retain his GPS marks and his deckhands and crew for their new venture.

So whilst we are fairly new in Tonga, we have an intimate knowledge of the area and plan to offer world class spearfishing opportunities to the keen spearfisherman wanting a guided spearfishing experience.
The location of Tonga compared to Australia
 
Tonga Wahoo
Proud new owner of Blue Water Explorer: Rob Torelli and Ben Carlson (Former owner) with a Tongan Wahoo


HOW?



All Blue Water Hunting Internationals spearfishing charters to Tonga are run as day trips on board MV Blue Water Explorer. Our 10 meter custom built vessel for freediving and spearfishing. Clients stay at an array of accommodation that Nuku 'alofa has to offer. Our standard packages will consist of twin share accommodation at one of the many great hotels in the region but divers can upgrade or even stay at one of the offshore island or resorts. Flights are easy accessible via Virgin Airlines (via Sydney direct) or Air New Zealand (Auckland direct).
Map of Tonga
 

HOW LONG?


The standard Blue Water Hunting International charter is a 7 day package in which 5 days are dived. (The other two days are kept aside to see other points of interest on the island and to allow for any weather affected days. NOTE: Sunday is a customary day of rest/religion and no charters work on Sunday so this day is always left vacant). BWHI does have an extended expedition for 12 days and sees us visit some of the more remote and very productive areas.

THE CHARTER VESSEL



MV Blue Water Explorer is a 10 meter custom built (Carly built) charter vessel in survey for 8 passengers plus crew. It is currently powered by one 225 horse power Etec outboard. It is hoped that this will be replaced by twin four stroke outboards in early 2014. It has a cruising speed of 20 knots and is a comfortable vessel with very easy diver access.
MV Blue Water Explorer
 

DIVING CONDITIONS:


The diving conditions in Tonga are quite diverse! One morning you can be diving a fad or an offshore island chasing wahoo and mahi mahi and in the afternoon you can be diving an inshore shipwreck chasing monster mangrove jacks! The offshore reefs are very productive and drop off quite quickly into 30 meters of water. Then a little further offshore and you are in very deep water and thus these areas are ideal for wahoo, dog tooth, yellow fin, massive GT's and other challenging pelagic fish species.

The inshore reefs have a great diversity of reef species from the tasty coral and coronation trouts through to a host of tropical snappers, trevallies, job fish and cods. With no ciguatera reported in Tonga your catch will never go to taste and is always appreciated by the local community.

Visibility in most locations averages 30 metres and at some of the sea mounts/offshore reefs visibility can be in excess of 50 meters. Obviously, the inshore reefs and wrecks can have lesser visibility but still it is rare to dive less than 10 meters visibility. Depths dived depend obviously on one's ability and one's target fish species. If you can dive 10 metres you will catch some quality fish and if you are comfortable in 20 meters whilst spearfishing you will be in your element! Guides work with the divers to ensure they are diving within their limits and with a plan to capture their dream catch! On recent trips wahoo, sailfish and Doggies were all landed in 10 meters or less.

Click play to see Vaea spearfishing mangrove jack on a shipwreck.
Dive in wrecks and on beautiful reefs
 

 

SPECIES ENCOUNTERED


Tonga has a diverse arrange of pelagic fish including a great host of billfish. These include blue, black and striped marlin along with sailfish and even short bill spearfish. The sailfish are plentiful in season and the largest ever sailfish caught in the world was taken in Tonga weighing an impressive 95.5 kg. Average size is an impressive 45 kg or 100 pounds. Ask us about targeting billfish and we will see what we can arrange for you. Tonga has a great Blue Marlin fishery and we can arrange targeting these species as well.

 

 

 

 



Dogtooth tuna are plentiful in select "treasured" locations. In fact, it is quite likely you will see schools of dozens of Dogtooth tuna. As you would expect, size varies from a few kg up to 100 kg. That's right, world record sized Doggies exist in Tonga and a number of great fish around 60-75 kg have already been landed and it's only a matter of time before a massive potential World Record is landed. What is great from a serious Dogtooth hunter's point of view is that few dogtooth are lost to sharks in Tonga. Sharks do exist in Tonga but not in the big numbers like in the Coral Sea and other productive but sharky areas of the South Pacific.
Dog tooth tuna!
 

Yellow fin tuna are quite common in Tonga and peak season is January though to April with specimens up to 100 kg been taken. You can find them year round but target them early in the year and you will be pleased with your results.

Dog tooth tuna school!
 

Mahi mahi and wahoo are also found year round at the FADS and offshore reefs and islands. Wahoo grow to 40 kg have been landed and the average specimen seems to be around 15-20 kg. Peak season is July through to January and a similar pattern is found for mahi mahi with specimens to 30 kg possible with 10-15 kg the norm.


Tonga has no shortage of GT's and specimens to 40 kg have been landed. Average size seems to be 20 kg but larger specimens and even schools of GT are not rare!
A nice wahoo
 

The reef species are equally as impressive with no ciguatera to deter divers from hunting tasty reef species. Coral trout (blue spot, coronation, leopard and others) are common and not all that easy to spear. ) Blue spots specimens to 20 kg have been landed. Estuary cod are also common and larger specimens over 40 kg have been landed. Gold spot wrasse, mangrove jacks, job fish and other challenging tasty reef species exist and a good feed is never too far away.

NOTE: Blue Water Hunting International Pty Ltd have self-imposed laws on the taking of both reef and pelagic species implemented to ensure our fishing grounds are productive for the future. (Contact us if you would like to see our policy)
Delicious reef species are plentiful
 

BEST TIME OF YEAR

Spearfishing in Tonga is good year round. It really depends on the divers "wants and needs" as to when they visit Tonga for a spearfishing expedition. July though to October you have the pleasure of diving with Humpback whales which is always a great buzz. It is also a great time to escape the winter if you are from the Southern Hemisphere. Earlier in the year is also a good time to target Yellow fin tuna so be sure to give your trip some serious thought before booking.



THE CATCH

Your catch becomes the property of Blue Water Hunting International but of course all clients are welcome to take some fish daily for their evening meal or even to take a few fillets home with them.

COST

Blue Water Hunting International is still finalising packages with their accommodation suppliers in Tonga and should be available by January 2014. 7 day packages are expected to come in at about $2995 AUD per person per week package. This is based on 4 paying passengers and 2 in water guides, (as well as skippers and deck hands). We believe with this service, i.e. 2 divers to one guide ratio this is exceptional value for money and will ensure a safe and rewarding spearfishing experience. Robert Torelli plans to be on most spearfishing expeditions as head guide and has over 20 years' experience in the charter spearfishing/guiding business. Robert prides himself to help clients reach their dreams and will document their hunt with his underwater cameras if required.

Our booking terms are: 50% non-refundable holding deposit and final payment due 90 days prior to charter in full. Payment options include a T/T, credit card, fees apply) and cash. Contact us, to make a booking or check out availability.

PRIVATE CHARTERS

This is our speciality where we customise a charter for you. It may be that you want less people involved, you need tuition, you want your whole charter filmed, you want to work from your private yacht, or whatever. Drop us an email or call and we will work through your requirements to design the best custom charter for your needs.

Please contact us for more information or to make a booking.

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