Tonga

David & Susan's Adventures
David & Susan Simpson
Sun 23 Oct 2016 04:09

21.07.42S  175.09.81W

We stayed in the Vavau group for 2 weeks, but due to the weather, quite strong winds, and alst the Blue Water Festival we didn’t visit as many anchorages as we had planned. However as we plan to be back in Tonga in 2017, we will have plenty of opportunity to see more then.

 

There were quite a lot of boats we had met up with in previous places, so it was good to catch up with friends and check what their latest plans were. Most of course were gathering in Tonga to then head down to New Zealand.

 

The Blue Water Festival was useful as we got briefings on how to plan out our trip to New Zealand from a very experienced sailor..

 

Neiafu, the main town in the Vavau group hadn’t changed much since we were here in 2010, but the anchorage had much more moorings and boats.

The anchorage in Neiafu.

We did have a real heavy thunderstorm with lots of very close lightening and a huge downpour.

As usual the most impressive buildings are the churches.

We did go for a couple of nights to Nuapapu island and enjoyed snorkelling the Coral Garden there. We drift dived along the reef with Susan guiding the front of the dinghy and I controlled the back. I could of course at times just hold on and let Susan do all the work!

 

After 2 weeks in Vavau we booked out and sailed overnight down to the Haapai group to the main island Lifuka and the town of Pangai. In Tonga when you go between the Island Groups you have to book in and out of each group. There is not very much in Pangai so after booking in and out of Haapai we sailed up to Nukunamo where there is another Coral Garden in the lagoon between 2 islands. The coral here is the main attraction as the fish weren’t so varied and abundant. The coral was however in good shape and varied in colour and shapes.

The beautiful anchorage.

It is always good to see a few Clown Fish.  

We then went down to Uoleva island, but couldn’t find any good snorkelling there. We decide after 2 nights to head down to Nuka Alofa in tongatapu and start to get ready for the thrip to New Zealand. Once again we hadn’t seen as much of the Haapai group as we planned, but the weather was deteriorating and we wanted to take advantage of a brief weather window. It was another overnight sail, but we set off at 2.0pm to ensure we got out of the area with many dangerous reefs before nightfall. We had a really good sail down to Nuka Alofa and had to constantly slow down so that we didn’t arrive in the dark. It was quite cold at night and we had some showers so we had to look out the waterproofs.

Full waterproofs, but still bare feet!!

We arrived in the anchorage at Big Mama’s restaurant and anchored beside Chevaldy. We hadn’t seen Sean & Sabina since Bora Bora as they went to Palmerston and then Nuie and we went north to Suwarrow, so it was good to meet up again.

The trip ashore to the town is quite a long dinghy ride and we got pretty wet on the way back. However we had to go and book in and took the opportunity for some sight seeing and shopping.

Looking down to the King & Queens Palace.

After having a quiet night to recover we had a dinner and music night on Enchantress with Sean & Sabina from Chevaldy supplying the music and David, Gita and Hans Christian from Aros Mear joining us. David & Gita are at the end of their sailing adventures and are selling their boat in New Zealand. David, a GP, who trained in Dundee just a few years after Susan’s dad, is 83 and although he is still very sharp and quite spritely feels it is time to hang up his waterproofs!

It was a great reunion and once again a great music night from Sean & Sabina.

I think Sean’s red eyes are just the camera rather than the rum.

David & Gita. I was able to offer David one of his favourite whisky – Lagavulin, but I am down to my last bottle.

I can’t remember what it was I had said!

Sean & Sabine resting after the music.