Two of us spent 10 days on Lifuka and Uoleva islands in Ha'apai this year and absolutely loved it. Apart from beautiful beaches and a laid-back atmosphere this place has some of the most gorgeous diving spots we as quite experienced divers have seen. Plus, this is one of the only destinations in the world where it is allowed to swim with Humpback Whales!
We went out several days diving and whale watching with Fins 'n' Flukes who are based in Pangai on Lifuka Island. The owners Sabine and Brian run this very friendly and personal business with great enthusiasm and went out of their way to make this an unforgettable holiday for us.
The dive spots we visited boasted pristine hard coral, lots of colourful reef fish and the occasional bigger stuff like Whitetip and Leopard sharks, Stingrays, Tuna, Barracudas and more. The scenery of some of the places was pretty stunning, too: caves and tunnels, coral archs and overhangs added an exciting factor to the experience.
We went out whale watching twice as well and had an amazing time! One day it was not possible getting in the water with the animals as they were either moving quite fast or jumping and slapping their tails, which got us some great pictures though. The second day we were really lucky and got in the water with a Humpback mother, her calf and an escort that stayed around for half an hour or so. The baby was really curious and swam up close to us while the mum was pretty relaxed and just stayed in place. We will certainly never forget this unbelieveable experience ever!
We particularly liked Brian´s and Sabine´s approach to the activities they offer. They only take out very small groups on their boat: max.4 people for diving and 8 for whale watching, so it is a very personal experience. They place great emphasis upon both safety and the animals´ welfare, which we feel are very important. Pick-ups from Uoleva for activities are free of charge and transfers can be arranged as well.