Nuie - (67)
Position – 19.03.311S 169.55.461W
Erratum: I made a big booboo with Janice’s last post #65. I attached the wrong set of photographs, so you may wish to go back over that post as the error has now been corrected. I wish to assure readers that the mistake has not been taken lightly and that any inconvenience caused is deeply regretted.
Well, by the early evening the wind had filled in and we had a great sail in a Force 6 gusting F7 from Beveridge Reef to Nuie averaging over 7 knots. The seas were very uncomfortable though and so it was a case of either enjohying or enduring it; I enjoyed! After the 4-nighter from Rarotonga to Beveridge Reef it was a simple overnight passage and the good speed meant us arriving at 10.00 in the morning instead of the originally expected early afternoon.
Leaving Beveridge Reef, the surf being the only indication of its existence
Before reaching the leeward side of the Nuie
Apparently, Nuie, pronounced nu-way, is the smallest independent country in the world. It is a single Island whose circumferential road is 68km long. There is a very small population of only a few thousand as many left after a 2004 cyclone demolished almost 90% of the buildings. There are countless ruins and abandoned houses and more graves than there are people living. The people however are extremely friendly and very willing to chat and help.
The old and the new
The Village Green
Innumerable graves by the roadside or on individuals’ private property
The ubiquitous chicken
The anchorage is an open roadstead with big strong moorings that are well maintained by the “Yacht Club” which is really a café. The moorings cost NZ$15 per night and are well worth it as the sea bed is a maze of limestone chasms into which many an anchor drops and jams, never to be retrieved.
NIUE Yacht Club & Café
The Mooring Field
Beaujolais on a mooring in Niue
The swell is terrible in any winds between South, through West to North. So much so, a crane has been installed on the wharf to lift out dinghies as they would not last 5 minutes being washed against the wharf.
The Wharf and Crane – it looks very calm but the swell is not captured by the camera
Lowering the Dinghy
Darryl the Crane
Customs, Police, Immigration are all handled in a friendly, efficient and simple way. A garbage charge of NZ$12.50 per yacht and departure tax of NZ$34 per person are the only fees to be paid.
Internet on the Island is reported to be free but it actually costs NZ$25 to one-time register. The coverage is however appalling, as is the reliability. I must halve wasted nearly a full day and a half trying to maintain connections long enough to send/receive emails, update the blog and skype. The Skype conversation was at best, terrible. But it was lovely to hear Janice’s voice again. I am looking forward to Tonga and am optimistic for a better service; we shall see…
The weather here has been pretty poor for the first 3 days and so I didn’t do any snorkeling until the fourth and last day which was a great pity as the water is so crystal clear and blue and the limestone geology presents countless caves and chasms to dive. Sadly, I had not allowed for more time in Nuie though decent weather would have been required.
So, we drove around the island, sharing a car with Michael, Ann and Jennifer from Callisto and had a very enjoyable last day. Here are some pics.
Mike of Callisto rings the Church Bell – an old oxyacetylene tank!
Not sure if she is a member
Opening a coconut – the water and flesh being a part of our lunch
Thousands of limestone pinnacles, very sharp
The WashAway beach bar was closed when we got there, as were most places
Nuiean Super Car
Look at all the welds!
The coastline is all heavily eroded limestone with deep chasms and caves
Perfectly clear water
Mike floating on the salt water surface, photographed through the hydrocline from the fresh water layer below
There are very few shops, one small resort hotel, and the Coral Gardens, a small but lovely hotel at which we stopped for a sundowner after the drive around the island
Nuie would be a good place to visit for walking, cragging, snorkeling and scuba, especially with the one, weekly direct flight from NZ.
Oh, one last note. During our stay on Nuie, I was extremely fortunate to learn the ancient Polynesian art of weather forecasting:
Polynesian Weather Forecasting Equipment
Oh, and …..
Here’ssssssssss Skinky, alive and well in Nuie