Your Feedback
Marion wrote: I am a sea lover. Seems to be an interesting cruise. david martin Abrahams would love to travel on it.
Your Feedback
YV&C News Desk wrote: Swimming into a small entrance tunnel at a depth of 26 meters, you ener one of the biggest oceanic limestone caves in the South Pacific Ocean. Fifty meters long, it's also 20 meters wide and 20 meters high. The cave is teeming with flashlight fishes, reef sharks and a two meter grouper.
YV&C News Desk wrote: Swimming into a small entrance tunnel at a depth of 26 meters, you ener one of the biggest oceanic limestone caves in the South Pacific Ocean. Fifty meters long, it's also 20 meters wide and 20 meters high. The cave is teeming with flashlight fishes, reef sharks and a two meter grouper.
YV&C News Desk wrote: Swimming into a small entrance tunnel at a depth of 26 meters, you ener one of the biggest oceanic limestone caves in the South Pacific Ocean. Fifty meters long, it's also 20 meters wide and 20 meters high. The cave is teeming with flashlight fishes, reef sharks and a two meter grouper.
YV&C News Desk wrote: Swimming into a small entrance tunnel at a depth of 26 meters, you ener one of the biggest oceanic limestone caves in the South Pacific Ocean. Fifty meters long, it's also 20 meters wide and 20 meters high. The cave is teeming with flashlight fishes, reef sharks and a two meter grouper.
YV&C News Desk wrote: Swimming into a small entrance tunnel at a depth of 26 meters, you ener one of the biggest oceanic limestone caves in the South Pacific Ocean. Fifty meters long, it's also 20 meters wide and 20 meters high. The cave is teeming with flashlight fishes, reef sharks and a two meter grouper.
YV&C News Desk wrote: Swimming into a small entrance tunnel at a depth of 26 meters, you ener one of the biggest oceanic limestone caves in the South Pacific Ocean. Fifty meters long, it's also 20 meters wide and 20 meters high. The cave is teeming with flashlight fishes, reef sharks and a two meter grouper.
YV&C News Desk wrote: Swimming into a small entrance tunnel at a depth of 26 meters, you ener one of the biggest oceanic limestone caves in the South Pacific Ocean. Fifty meters long, it?s also 20 meters wide and 20 meters high. The cave is teeming with flashlight fishes, reef sharks and a two meter grouper.


YV&C Current Issue


YV&C Recommended Yacht Charter Links

Oceanic Cave Crave Yacht Charter
Volcano diving in the kingdom of Tonga



Roland Schwara of Water Sports Ha’apai specialises in diving the volcanoes and oceanic caves of the Ha’apai group. When I rang Roland last, he’d just got back from diving. His divers had swum with humpback whales. “We were on scuba and the whales came to within three metres of us. This was amazing, as they don’t normally come so close when we’re on scuba” said Roland.

“There’s two main volcanoes that we dive around: Kao is an extinct volcano with a 1046 metre cone and is made of back volcanic rock while the active volcano Tofua is surrounded by beautiful coral walls.  The visibility at Kao is usually an outstanding 70 metres and there’s a hotspring (underwater hot water vent) at Tofua which is an exciting dive. Some very unusual life gathers around these hot water vents. Both dives offer cathedral like cave dives!

There’s lots of great rock cods, manta and eagle rays, napoleon wrasse, turtle, giant tunas and trevally. These two dives are suitable for experienced divers only due to 40 metre depths and sometimes we get strong currents.” says Roland.

Rolands career in diving started while he was in the German army where he dived in both fresh and salt water. Later, he travelled to Australia and on to New Zealand where he scored a job supervising a group of marine biologists studying corals in Tonga.

It was during this project, whose aim it was to research and protect coral reefs, that Roland found a series of huge underwater caves, possibly the biggest of their kind in the South Pacific! He stayed on in Tonga, keen to explore these mysterious caves.

Watersports Ha‘apai organise dive safaris to the whole of the Ha’apai group with overnight stays on uninhabited islands and atolls. The volcano diving trip is a must for experienced divers. All activities start from their base on Lifuka Island near the ‘Niu’akalo’ hotel. Roland and his partner Ofa can arrange your accommodation, from good value guest houses to luxury beach resorts.

They have activities for non divers such as horse riding, volcano trekking, kayaking, game fishing and wind surfing. Roland currently operates two dive boats, both have VHF radios, GPS, fish finder, first aid and emergency gear.

Tonga is an excellent dive trip for those especially interested in safe oceanic cave and deep diving. This combined with the chance of snorkelling with humpbacks makes for a great adventure.

And enjoy the Tongan food: suckling pig, chicken and raw fish marinated in coconut milk and seaweed called ‘limu fuofua’ or corned beef and coconut milk wrapped and cooked in taro leaves, a local favourite.

I would recommend spending a few days diving at Vavau, with Dolphin Pacific Diving followed by several days ‘adventure’ diving with Roland in the Ha’apai group. This would make for an excellent trip. Alternatively, you could book onto a liveaboard diving vessel.

For those interested in general ‘easy going reef diving’ while staying at a beautiful resort, I would recommend diving with Happy Ha’apai Divers at the Sandy Beach Resort.

The Sandy Beach Resort has accommodation right on the coral lagoon with good coral right off the beach.

If you arrange your dive trip during the whale season, you have an excellent chance of swimming with the whales. If your diving with Water Sports Ha’apai or Happy Ha’apai Divers, your well placed geographically to see and swim with the whales. (June to October) is the whale season with (July to September) being the best time.

Snorkelling with humpback whales is one of life’s greatest experiences. If there’s an aquatic substitute for base jumping this would be it for me. When you see those humpback whales flying through the ocean, pectoral fins outstretched, three abreast, your heart races and one is living life to the max.

Liveaboards
There’s several  liveaboards  that operate from Vavau & Nukualofa.

One liveaboard is the converted 40 metre cruise boat; MV Oleanda which runs dive trips from Vavau to Nukualofa. It’s operated by Wayne Fox who has an excellent knowledge of diving in this region. Trips are usually about 7 days and run on demand. www.coralislandcruises.com

Royal Sunset Scuba Diving at Tongatapu also have a liveaboard, the 51ft impetuous which runs occasional trips to the Ha’apai’s 

Here are some dives offered by Roland:

The Great Magic Wall of Lolani’: With only a small entrance tunnel, four metres long, at a depth of 26 metres, you enter one of the biggest limestone caves. An amazing fifty metres long, its also 20 metres wide and 20 metres high. You spend most of your time at 26 to 29 metres looking down through the gin clear water at the caves floor which lies at 50 metres and you get that awesome feeling of gliding along under the roof of a huge church cathedral. Inside the cave live flashlight fishes, reef sharks and the two metre grouper. When Roland showed this cave to the US and Japanese scientists, who were exploring the whole South Pacific’ for famous caves, they were stunned. This dive is for experienced divers.

Ava Mea Drift Dive: A dynamic drift dive between the islands of Uoleva and Tatafa.
There are two entry points into a two kilometre long channel. One entry spot is in the middle of the channel where the currents is not too strong. There are beautiful coral gardens along the whole dive from 8 to 18 metres with currents of two to four knots.
The dive is like an underwater flight through an untouched underwater paradise with lots of reef and schooling fishes. The second entry is a drift dive suitable for highly experienced divers only, as the current can reach eight knots near Tatafa island. Here you’ll experience an ultimate current ride flying past hundreds of barracuda. This drift dive is for highly experienced divers.

Lolani’s Labyrinth: With ten caves and tunnels including two that are 30 metres long. Most have extra exits to the reef above which makes them safe cave dives. This dive is five nautical miles off Lifuka island. The reef top has superb plate corals at three metres. Inside the caves, you can see flashlight fishes, spiny lobsters and moray eels. This is also an excellent night dive where you can see rare crabs, lobsters and sleeping parrotfish. Day dives are to made to 25 metres and 15 metres at night. This dive is also for the experienced.

The Grand Canyons of Nukupuke:  The reef is like a gigantic canyon  between what looks like underwater mountains. You feel as if your flying over underwater canyons and theres lots of coral, reef and schooling fishes down to 30 metres. Occasionally there’s lots of reef sharks, leopard sharks, barracuda and turtles. From July to October you can dive with humpback whales.

The ‘Great Green Wall of Ha’ano’: At the northern end of Ha’ano island there’s a amazing dropoff from seven to 150 metres with luxuriant soft and hard corals on the reef top. There’s lots of excitement diving these mega drop offs, with that special feeling of the unknown. This dive starts by swimming through a cave from seven to 25 metres, then exiting onto a wall covered in green algae which hangs like wineyard grapes. The algae comes and goes from time to time. This dive is for experienced divers as it’s usually dived to 40 metres.

The Big Coral Arch of Ofolanga: A superb dive, this cave is at the depth of 26 metres. The cave is 20 metres wide and 15 metres high. It offers divers artistic views of streaming light, sprinkled with tropical fish.

About Tony Karacsonyi
Tony Karacsonyi is a professional marine photographer who has been recognised globally for his exciting images. Marine photography has taken Tony to some of the world’s great places such as Papua New Guinea’s: Siassi, Trobriand and D’Entrecasteaux Islands,Tonga, Great Barrier Reef, Sabah, Ningaloo Reefs and Australia’s Coral Sea. In 1998, he was awarded with the prestigious Australian Geographic “Photographer of the Year“, for photography on giant cuttlefish and won several international awards, including a ‘runner up’ position in the “Wildlife Photographer of The Year” award in London, during 1996, 1997, 1998.

In order to post a comment you need to be registered and logged in.

Register | Sign-in

Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 1

Swimming into a small entrance tunnel at a depth of 26 meters, you ener one of the biggest oceanic limestone caves in the South Pacific Ocean. Fifty meters long, it's also 20 meters wide and 20 meters high. The cave is teeming with flashlight fishes, reef sharks and a two meter grouper.

Swimming into a small entrance tunnel at a depth of 26 meters, you ener one of the biggest oceanic limestone caves in the South Pacific Ocean. Fifty meters long, it's also 20 meters wide and 20 meters high. The cave is teeming with flashlight fishes, reef sharks and a two meter grouper.

Swimming into a small entrance tunnel at a depth of 26 meters, you ener one of the biggest oceanic limestone caves in the South Pacific Ocean. Fifty meters long, it's also 20 meters wide and 20 meters high. The cave is teeming with flashlight fishes, reef sharks and a two meter grouper.

Swimming into a small entrance tunnel at a depth of 26 meters, you ener one of the biggest oceanic limestone caves in the South Pacific Ocean. Fifty meters long, it's also 20 meters wide and 20 meters high. The cave is teeming with flashlight fishes, reef sharks and a two meter grouper.

Swimming into a small entrance tunnel at a depth of 26 meters, you ener one of the biggest oceanic limestone caves in the South Pacific Ocean. Fifty meters long, it's also 20 meters wide and 20 meters high. The cave is teeming with flashlight fishes, reef sharks and a two meter grouper.

Swimming into a small entrance tunnel at a depth of 26 meters, you ener one of the biggest oceanic limestone caves in the South Pacific Ocean. Fifty meters long, it's also 20 meters wide and 20 meters high. The cave is teeming with flashlight fishes, reef sharks and a two meter grouper.

Swimming into a small entrance tunnel at a depth of 26 meters, you ener one of the biggest oceanic limestone caves in the South Pacific Ocean. Fifty meters long, it?s also 20 meters wide and 20 meters high. The cave is teeming with flashlight fishes, reef sharks and a two meter grouper.


Subscribe to the World's Most Powerful Newsletters !
Receive Breaking Yacht Charters News as it Happens...
Yacht Charter Newsletter
Jet Charter Newsletter
 
SuperYacht Newsletter
SuperYacht Conference
Your E-Mail: 
State: 
Zip Code: 




Type the characters you see in this picture (lower case):   


YV&C Recommended Yacht Charter Links

Latest YV&C Stories
The Borneo International Yachting Challenge 2007 (BIYC) scheduled for September, which will have as its highlight a 100-nautical mile passage race from Labuan to here, is expected to attract 30 sailing teams.
Cloud Expo, Inc. announced on Thursday that Cloud Expo 2011 New York, the 8th International Cloud Computing Conference & Expo, will take place June 6-9, 2011, at the Javits Center in New York City. The International Cloud Computing Conference & Expo series is the world’s leading Cloud-...
Magnum Nautica is the first and foremost Croatia yacht charter company. It has added a luxury charter yacht, Sunseeker Manhattan 60, named ‘Rej,’ to its existing fleet of 10 luxury and charter yachts. This new addition to its fleet, with a capacity to accommodate 6 guests, is a great l...
The website, Lookflorida.com states: 'A group of Florida real estate agents have agreed to participate in the FREBS program. These agents will give you a cash stimulus at closing on your Florida real estate purchase. You could be eligible for up to $150,000' The stimulus program ...
Books are now open for Crystal Cruises' 16th annual, 110-day 2011 World Cruise. Fares for the "Grand Exotic Expedition" World Cruise aboard Crystal Serenity are now available online, along with Full World Cruise and segment itinerary details, and attractive promotional and savings info...
A JetBlue Embraer ERJ-190, registration N279JB performing flight B6-904 from Chicago O'Hare, IL to New York JFK, NY (USA) with 64 passengers and 4 crew, was on final visual approach to JFK's runway 31R descending through 2000 feet, when the crew reported they needed to abort the approa...


YV&C Recommended Yacht Charter Links