With no run-off from the land—there are no rivers on Niue’s raised coral atoll—underwater visibility is up to 80 meters, and coastal locations including Limu Pools and Matapa Chasm offer superb snorkeling. With gin-clear waters, Niue is also a prime place to observe humpback whales and resident spinner dolphins in their environment. As the tip of an ancient volcano, the ocean around Niue also gets deep extremely quickly. We’re just a few hundred meters off the island’s coastline, but Niue Blue’s skipper reckons “It’s at least two hundred meters deep here”, and our group of snorkelers is reminded again of the strict rules of engagement when interacting with the whales: No closer than 20 meters and a maximum of six people in the water at any time.
Slipping gently off Niue Blue’s inflatable Zodiac, I float respectfully near a humpback whale and her calf. The pair is at least 30 meters away, but Niue’s superb visibility ensures they’re effortlessly spotlighted as the morning’s tropical sun continues to rise. A compelling experience lasting several minutes is only broken when they swim effortlessly away with languid flicks of their powerful tails.
Again, I’m reminded of the simple, sweet magic of Niue Island, and my gratitude to be amongst it all.
Author Brett Atkinson visited Niue with the support of Niue Tourism.