Port Maurelle 18:42.0S, 174:01.84W

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Wed 20 Sep 2017 23:10
The port at Neiafu is very sheltered, as you sail all the way round the top of the island before snaking round into the port, about central once chartlet. This is the first place where we haven't rolled in the swell or been buffeted by wind for weeks and it makes it very pleasant.

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Due to our lack of gas we have sampled meals in three different bar/restaurants and been pleasantly surprised at the quality and cost. Excellent meals at about west country pub prices.

The walk up Mt Talau gives good views around the islands from its flat, wooded top. The legend of why it is flat goes something like this: The Samoan tevolo climbed to the top of their mountain and looked around, they could see the whole world except to the south where mount Talau blocked their view. They decided to do something about this and at night they came and cut off the top of the Tongan mountain with their bush knives. As they were carrying it away the Tongans sent a message to a wise tevolo on Eua (an island south of here) who went to the east side of her island, where the sun rises, and bared her buttocks to the sun. Seeing the bright light reflected off Tafakulas buttocks the Samoans thought that the sun was rising and they would be caught out in daylight. They instantly dropped the top of Mt Talau, which has been flat ever since. The top of the mountain now forms the island of Lotuma.

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View of Neiafu from Mount Talau

When it comes to buying supplies the supermarkets are a bit limited, the freighter is due today, but there is a good selection of fruit and veg in the market.

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The market. Here you are expected to bargain, a change from French Polynesia, where it was not normal.

On Sunday we went to church to listen to the singing. All of the Polynesians are reputed to sing excellently and very loud. We had heard singing on Nuku Hiva during their July celebrations when a few women filled a large hall with sound. In the Cathedral, with a couple of hundred voices it was incredible, no hymn sheets or prayer books here they obviously know it all by heart. The choir master stood at the front and conducted the whole congregation.

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Roman Catholic Cathedral

Having got our gas refills on Tuesday we stocked up and yesterday sailed out to Port Maurelle where the first Europeans landed, now a coral beach backed by forest. It is only 6 miles from Neiafu but peaceful with only half a dozen boats anchored.

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Port Maurelle

We did miss the fakaleiti show at the Bounty Bar. Apparently custom has it that if a Tongan woman did not have enough daughters to help with the women's tasks in the home a son would be dressed as a girl and brought up as a daughter, it can now be a lifestyle choice, these are the fakaleiti. I assume the show now is a transvestite/cross dresser show and is supposed to display good style.

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