What we did in Tongatapu

Thu 7 Aug 2008 23:21
Date 08-08-08!
Position  18:28S 178:48E
Regulars wil know that the blog is the only legible record of events that I keep these days, and so when I noticed that there was a bit of a gap between my children arriving in Tonga, and our departure for Fiji, I thought that I would fill it in, just for the record.
They did recover, slowly, from their jet lag, and we had a great time exploring the 'holiday' Islands in the lagoon to the north of Tongatapu. We stayed mostly in the anchorage at Pangaimotu, as this was most sheltered, closest to Nuk'alofa (the main town on the mainland), and had a beach all round for Olivias running activities. The pub also served up fresh hamburgers with salad that were favourites with us all. We also visited Atata (a tricky lagoon pass) and Fafa (an exposed anchorage, but with an upmarket resort where we blew some cash on a very good evening meal, once we established that Hannah could have a children's 'pasta and tomato sauce'!). We were waiting for winds to blow us back to the Northern Group of Tongan Islands, but these never arrived. Instead we found ourselves in town for the Coronation of King George. We found our way into VIP seats for the rugby match between Tonga and the Rest of the World, who were captained by Colin Charvis of Wales, and included some big names. The Tongans played well as a team however, and in this friendly invitation match were completely dominant. The following day most of the players came out to 'our' pub on Pangaimotu: Olivias eyes out on stalks!! 
We didn't get invites to the Coronation itself, but did make it to the Military Parade the next day. Afterwards we mixed with the Invited Dignitaries in Friends Cafe, our favourite place in Nuk'alofa: it seemed that there were no official post parade refreshments for the honoured guests, who were sitting at the little cafe tables in their regalia and morning coats. At least it didn't rain on the King's Parade, neither was there a surprise Coup. Democratic reforms are promised in the next 'elections' and the poeple seem placated by this. Of course there were public holidays left right and centre, so we couldn't 'check out' until the following week: what a shame to have to spend the weekend in Pangaimotu anchorage, soaking up the sun, swimming, and eating!!
PS we are nearly in Fiji now; it has been too rough to use the computer for a couple of days. The above was written in a flat calm, 24 hrs out from Tonga. Will write again from Suva.