Niuatoputapu (New potatoes)
20130507 Tuesday - Around the Island
We're all up early as Fred and Grete go ashore to catch the 07:30 bus to
pick up our hire car from a resort near to where we had first anchored.
!0:00 and still no sign of the intrepid pair and the clock ticks onerously
onward, this looks like trouble. 10:30 and the buzz of the outboard signals
the return of the prodigals.
Once onboard we get the story. The bus was late and already jammed full,
with school kids mainly, even before they board. But they are crammed inside
while some hang onto the outside.
After several stops on the way to put water and oil in the engine as well as
disgorge passengers they get to the resort, complete the paperwork including
the issue of a local driving licence and head back somewhat later than
We consult with Michelle at the Resort and she points out places of interest
for us to visit and we're on our way. The road around the island is in
reasonable condition by one section turns into a sandy track along the
beachside. Stopping to take in the view we are approach by a local who
starts talking to us in pigeon English and Samoan.
As we go to drive away he gets agitated and we get the picture that he's
demanding $20 for having looked at the beach! Not a chance, as Lars
accelerates leaving him dusty and distraught.
The road is blocked by a grader and they appear to be filling in the
potholes and relay some of the surface. They move over and were off again.
As we pass through one of the larger villages we spot them playing Kirikiti
a unique version of Cricket.
The bat is a three sided club of a size that would make any warlord happy
with a soft rubber ball. As for the rules, there can be any number of
players on a team, but there's no idling on the side line. As the batsman
swings at every ball the opposition jump up and down blowing whistles and
clapping hands rhythmically. Needless to say the game goes on for many days.
Suddenly as we pass a house festooned with bunting I spot a Welsh flag
nailed to the gatepost. There are many strange sights on this island.
Next stop the blowholes on the lava field. After being relieve of the
mandatory $20 we turn onto a track a tank would have had difficulty
negotiating and as we reach its end another body emerges out of the wood
work to ask for $5parking fee.
They are good fun as the swell drives the waves up subterranean passages to
emerge in a great stream of spray. The lady was happy to demonstrate her
skill in throwing coconut husk into them which shot out like a bullet from a
Onward to the Waterfalls or in reality a whole series of them with a
wonderful cool refreshing pool at the base of the largest. T-Shirts off and
in we jump, fantastic.
A change of shorts and were off again.
Well not quite. Did I mention that they are repairing the road? Perhaps I
forgot to mention the odd large rock that was left behind; you know the one
As we stop to examine our now deflated front tyre operations begin to
replace it with the mini spare. Soon local expertise in the form of a young
lad comes to examine our handiwork and take charge of operations and were on
our way again.
We stop briefly at a supermarket to get bread but as we go to leave the
traffic police who have gather around the crossroad from the Ferry swoop.
"Evenin guvnor", say he "ave you got local driving licence?" "Yes" says
Lars "Ar good" says he. "You'll be Fred then?" "Err no he's in the back
seat" Not good as a $100 fine is suggested.
He's evidently in a good mood having foiled theses cunning foreigners and
having enquired if Fred is fit to drive, suggests he take over and waives
(All loosely translated from the Samoan by the way)
Fortunately we are already heading towards the resort where we hired the car
which has Wi-fi and we wish to take advantage of it Within a few beers the
Wi-fi session is concluded and for $16 our puncture is repaired and the
wheel back on. We still have quite a way to go before sunset so it's full
speed ahead and back to base
We stop by the fishing boat boys on our way back and are advised that the
resort is putting on a special dinner and evening for us starting about 8 as
it is their and our last night.
We have a super meal, lobster and stir fry steak. By 10pm we've drunk the
bar dry of wine and the fishing crew are completing their mission to empty
the liquor stocks.
About 11 Fred and Grete swim back to the boat while Lars and I keep up our
good name with the boys.
Apart from falling from my seat when is slips off the edge of the concrete
we held up well returning about midnight and crashing in out bunks.
20130508 Wednesday -Tonga here we come
We go ashore early in the morning to settle our tab which had been running
for the last couple of days. The fishing boys had already left to go back to
Apia before flying back to Australia.
Michelle and her friend are given a quick tour over the yacht before we up
anchor and backtrack our way out of the reef to the open sea.
During the day the seas build settling just off the bow along with the wind
so were beating to windward. With the boat heeled at 30 degrees were doing 9
knots in three metre swells that occasionally wash the deck when the bow dip
into one of them.
My bunk is at least tilted in the right direction although it's so far over
my bum is stuck in my porthole! as I lie on the hull.
Bob the Blog