Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Fri 6 Oct 2017 05:11
We stayed in Neiafu long enough to celebrate Sarah's birthday with a tea party (scones with jam and cream, and chocolate cake) and a meal out at Bella Vista with views over the harbour. Then having stocked up with fresh fruit and veg. from the market, filled up with water (4 trips ashore with our jerry cans at 60 litres a time) and got our domestic clearance, which allows us to travel to the Ha'apai group of islands, we were ready to go.
Just after midday with the wind blowing out of the harbour we hoisted our sails and sailed off the mooring. A cruise ship left the main wharf at the same time so we had to slow down to let her get clear of the narrow pass before we reached it. Then a run down wind and out to sea. We were heading for Hunga Haven, the crater of an (we hope) extinct volcano on the south end of Hunga Island, this is an active volcanic area and new islands appear occasionally. The pass into the lagoon formed from the crater is only 100ft wide so you aim between a distinct rock and the island to the south, when alongside the rock turn onto a bearing of 115 magnetic to clear a section of reef and you are in. Oh and there is 2m of water at low tide, our draft is 1.9, happily we never saw less than 3.7 on the echo sounder.
The entrance, looking out from the lagoon.
Once inside there is really good shelter and with good moorings it seems pretty secure. Barry is very welcoming, a Canadian who has been settled here for the last five years, he has three moorings available and offers wifi.
This morning we had a pleasant walk to the south east corner of the island where there is a beach and reef with lovely rock formations, then back north along the 'road' to Hunga village. The village was quite modern, with houses mostly of brick or wood, but some were made of corrugated iron, and a number of gardens were fenced with it. All the houses had solar power, funded by Japanese aid. We didn't see many people around, just a couple of older men, the children returning home from school and lots of pigs and piglets. We were stopped by one girl who wanted to practice her English, and offered us sea shells, coconuts and papaya. Before we left they asked if we would take their photo, and once we had done so and showed it to them we were allowed to leave.
The road on Hunga.
The beach at the SE end of Hunga.
Rock formations at the beach
Would you like to take our photo?
Back at the beach where we had left our dinghy, Barry told us that all land on Tonga is owned by the King. Local people can lease it in packages of 8 acres which costs about 1 US cent a year. They are then free to sublet, and that is the only way foreigners can have title to land.
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