The KIngdom of Tonga

Thu 5 Jun 2014 10:45

5th June 2014

Hebe blog is back.
I have returned from my Piste Off Wives Antipodean Escape. Had a great time with Alice seeing Mary Louise in Perth, Ora in Sydney and Alice's lovely friends in Auckland and Waihiki Island in NZ.


Getting the giggles being introduced to a smelly wombat…..God was really practicing with Aussie animals.

So you can imagine we were pretty weary travellers when we eventually staggered off the little twin prop ex-Chinese plane onto Vava'u in Tonga. Alice having dragged a suitcase full of spare parts all the way.  We couldn't believe our eyes when the clapped out vehicles with rusty bits hanging off spluttered away from the airport  and our husbands appeared out of the clouds of dust.  They were more than delighted and I have been enjoying my return to Hebe Home. Alice is now elevated to Sainthood as the water maker now WORKS. 

They had had a pretty lousy voyage from Special Suwarrow to Stormy Nuie and the final anchorage was so rolley they had to abandon ship to stay in a posh resort.  All the ARCy wives welcomed me back with "You certainly chose the right time to leave!" 


Of course Suwarrow has been the highlight for everyone, swimming with these immensely graceful enormous manta rays. 


Our friend Siegfried chilling 

Tonga is another story all together, unlike French Polynesia they don't have a huge European country providing everything and more. The great King rules his lovely Kingdom where pigs roam the streets along with chickens and children. They are hugely friendly and Alice and I have had trouble keeping all the eager vendors happy as they beseech us to buy their raffia mats and vegetables. 

The snorkelling here is incredible. Every other place we have visited the locals always say you should have seen the coral 30 years ago, well here its all still alive and blooming. The colours are both vivid like splashed paint or subtle pastel colours of the rainbow. All weird shapes pinnacles, domes and fans. 

The islands in the Vava'u chain were created when coral was pushed up by volcanic activity. Now these coral islands have been eroded by the sea and are full of caves and crevices. We snorkelled into these caverns , Swallows Cave is like a cathedral with a skylight surrounded with trees in the roof.  Everyone except Alice and I managed to dive into Mariner's Cave where you have to dive and swim underwater for 6m to enter it.  Andrew said it was amazing!  Much to everyone's amusement I tried but could only get down 3ft with my flippers flapping in the air. Must try harder.
AND the islands are covered in a temperate sort of jungle full of birds and FRUIT BATS. We saw them arguing in the trees so funny. They're huge and get drunk on the fruit and misbehave. 
Signing off until ……..

Janie Lax
hebe {CHANGE TO AT} mailasail {DOT} com  
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