Cruising Vava'u, Kingdom of Tonga - 14.10 - 1.11.2013

Fri 1 Nov 2013 12:24



18:42.088S 173:55.769W

14.10 - 1.11.2013

Cruising Vava'u, Kingdom of Tonga


Ever since Tevita, a Tongan student who lived in Hamburg for 2 years to become a teacher became a good family friend when I was about 6 years old, Tonga always seemed to be this faraway place in the South Pacific. My parents had visited him more than 30 years ago, and now, on my nightshift sailing from Niue to Tonga, I saw the land appear with the dawn as we rounded the northern coast.

We have spent some lovely time in and around the bays and islands of Neiafu, met some old faces and made new cruising friends and took advantage of the internet to try to sort out some computer problems. However, the rather slow internet makes it a rather annoying task. With the most important features working and having taken care of some other internet business, we're ready to move on further south, to explore the other islands, and then continue to the Ha'apai group before the last big jump to New Zealand.



Tonga! We arrived at the NE corner of Vava'u Island at 4am - but only, because we had to slow Andromeda down, so we could round it with the coming dawn and enter into the islands maze with som`e light.

We just missed the popular Vava'u Regatta just by 2 days. When we arrived, there were still about 60 boats anchored at the harbour of Neiafu!


This is a popular place, with cruisers who crossed the Pacific and many NZ/AUS cruisers that come out for the season alike.

This pic is taken from the highest spot - Mount Talau, with 131m it provides  spectacular views of the many bays and islands.

We rented a car to explore the main island Vava'u. It was a bit tricky to get to this lookout as theres' only a bush road for the last kilometers.

But Michael convinced our little vehicle that it can make it. And the view at the cliffy north coast made it definitely worth while!

For lunch we went to Ene'io beach in the SE. Haniteli starting planting a botanical garden here in 1972- at the impressive age of 8!

He said he was inspired by the garden eden he had heard about in church.

And this truly is a place you could call heaven on earth.

Michael thought this unusual head dress might give Ally the giggles.

Works for me!

On our road trip we found this beautiful bay. It might be private as we had to pass a gate, but the cottage like event building looked very deserted.


On Tapana Island, a Spanish couple stranded here some 20 years ago. They stopped their circumnavigation to work a bit - and never left! Now they have a little restaurant famous for its paella. They also organized a very fun charity dinner/party for a local family, lots. The father had gone out in the storm some 3 weeks ago and unfortunately disappeared in the up to 50knots wind - and left a wive with 6 children behind. Thanks to Maria's effort and the many cruisers who came, more than 3000 Pa'angas (about 1500$) were raised and are being deposited in two shops in town so the family can cover their weekly needs for main staples like flour and sugar for a while.


We went to the NE for a few days, as a really nice Australian couple we met told us about a little sand bar that's dry at low tide - ideal for rigging up the kites.

We had nice wind for 4 days - but pretty grey, bit rainy and cooler. But the last morning the sun came out - amazing how differently the world looks like with some shiny bright sun!

Our new Aussie friends show us a path to the East coast of Umuna Island in the NE of the Vava'u Group. On the little walk there, we also came about a deep cave with lots of swallow type birds which they call swiftlets (or similar) which have developed sth like the bat's echo sound. They are abundant here, just as the many caves on land and in the sea.


I had one more space to fill - thought this pic might do the job. Our self portrait on top of the 500ft high cliff that borders the entire Northern coast. 2 weeks ago, we came sailing along this coast - at 4 am, in the dark, the high walls looked a bit intimidating, even though we were about 2miles off. Then when dawn came it showed its stunning beauty.

We met a very nice and great cruising family from South Africa- they call themselves a tribe (guess with 3 kids on board that's pretty adequate). When we wanted to drive back home at night, we were all amazed by the jelly fish underneath their boat, drawn to their underwater lights. It looked pretty magical watching them float and propulse through the water. We definitely need some underwater lights, too!


Even in Tonga there's a Halloween night - thanks to the cruisers, I guess.

Anyway, fun opportunity to dress up!

Didn't really want to get a costume, just tried to come up with a funny outfit

- and Ally's monkey was supposed to give a hint to Pipi Longstocking. Not sure this character is that well known here, though. Either way, it was certainly a fun night out!