logo Mystic
Date: 17 Aug 2012 08:24:53
Title: Caves, Caverns and Chasms - part 1

Lat 19:03.36S
Lon 169:55.48W

"Niue - It's an island of adventure." Well that's how the Moon handbook sums up Niue and we couldn't agree more. It's such an amazing place full of nature's wonders, and hardly anyone comes here! We've had 4 days of exploring and "Wow" has probably been the most overused word as we've discovered the incredible caves, chasms and caverns that are all around Niue's coastline. In most places we've been the only people there.

It started with the sunset before we arrived on Friday morning - the best yet

image/jpg



The mooring field was nearly full when we arrived, and for the first time there are lots of "young" cruisers here. Our friends Ailiff and Emilie on Baten Anna were here, and we've met loads of new buddies which has been awesome. Because everyone stays for about a week, and there's only one mooring field, it's very social and you get to know everyone here as no one is moving between anchorages every day. On our first night Jesse on Obelisk invited everyone onto his boat for drinks which was cool - much rum consumed and adventures planned for the island. As there is no low lying land here, a wharf has been built from where there is a crane and winch to haul our dinghies out when we go ashore.

The dinghy winch and mooring field behind

image/jpg



On Saturday we dug out our bikes from the locker and cycled up to the north west of the island where a lot of the sites are concentrated. We visited Vaikona Cave, Talava Arches, Matapa Chasm and Limu Pools. The rock formations on this island are incredible - the whole island is an upthrust coral reef that is sitting on top of a submerged volcano. It is made up of two tiers each about 20 metres high, one of top of the other, representing two stages of being pushed up by the volcano. Thus the coastal road is actually 20m above sea level and access to the many caves at sea level is granted by lots of sea tracks and paths leading down to the water. There are huge lumps of old coral reef all over the island. The limestone cliffs form the islands edges and deep underground, in the 'lens' of the volcano sits a huge pool of fresh water, so getting fresh drinking water is no problem here - they are blessed with billions of litres of the stuff and any rainwater filters through the porous land and collects deep underground. Seeing as there are no rivers here, the water is crystal clear and the snorkelling in all of the pools is amazing. A geologists dream.

Vaikona Cave - full of stalactites and a pool to swim in

image/jpg



image/jpg



Outside Vaikona Cave - a fringing reef surround much of the island for about 20m out to sea

image/jpg



Talava Arch - with the other Arch standing underneath

image/jpg



A little swimming hole at Talava Arch

image/jpg



Limu pools

image/jpg



image/jpg



On Sunday we spent the afternoon at the Washaway Cafe - about 8km south of the anchorage and a weekly hangout for all the yachties and expat kiwi's who live on the island. It's a very chilled bar by the beach where you serve yourself and just write what you have in a book! We hitchhiked down there and back which is so easy here - people stop to ask you if you want a lift and will happily go out of there way to take you wherever you want to go! We went for a quick snorkel off the beach in front of the bar but there was quite a strong outflowing current and cold beer waiting so we didn't swim for long! We spent a cool evening with the guys from Baten Anna, Obelisk, Privateer, Knotty Lady, Slick and Windwalker and then had some of them back to our boat for more rum and popcorn.

Sunday sundowners at the Washaway cafe

image/jpg


Diary Entries