Experiencing more of wonderful Tongan people and traditions

Take Off
Jörgen Wennberg
Wed 8 Jun 2016 11:59
18.39 S
173.59 W

Leaving this beautiful bay, Port Maurelle….


… we made it back to Neiafu for more activities to come.


We gathered together with our World ARC friends in Neiafu at the Mango Café that had organised a special BBQ for all yachties. Wonderful and fun evening among great sailing friends.


Jörgen playing with Alex’s toys, making a gun from his plus-plus haha… Others being inspired to build whatever with plus-plus. 


However this is what Alex really prefers the best : to be with the real big boys!

Inez in full speed dancing with Daddy until the batteries ran out...


Lovely Tongan people together with Jasmine on Meermöwe.

The day after we found this boat in the Bay of Neiafu, a Swedish old sailing boat called IF (International Folkbåt). Louise once owned one of these boats, “Mårran". What is surprising is not the boat itself being on Tonga, it is how did it get there?! Imagine sailing this boat all the way from Sweden to Tonga!??!, a 24-foot, with no proper kitchen (only camping kitchen), no fridge and not being able to stand up in the boat (very low roof)… Fascinating.


Approaching one of our last days on Tonga we visited the vanilla farm of Vava’u Villa. The owners Ian and Vanessa Jones had workid as corporates in Auckland, New Zealand, decided to leave their hectic life and start a coconut farm in Tonga. Ian and Vanessa has a wonderful story to share, telling us how every step in starting their coconut business led them to the next idea and the next and the next. Their philosophy is that nothing should be wasted. Everything that is used or cannot be used anymore is still used in some way. The story is amazing…. however we tried to remember how the coconut farm turned into a vanilla farm passing by feeding pigs and without anything being wasted. Even the pigs poo is used as energy for the farm! Anyway fascinating and inspiring to meet people with such an energy and always wanting to find a solution for anything that can be used.


Fresh vanilla as it looks like before being harvested.


For several weeks the vanilla beans are being dried out without being fermented.



The day before our departure to Fiji : Skipper’s Briefing.

Our last evening we took part of the Price Giving Ceremony in Tonga for the Leg 5 & 6 Raiatea-Suwarrow-Niue-Tonga. We started by being welcomed with the welcoming drink “cava” extracted from a root (one drink is enough)


And now for the Price Giving…. not big news however Take Off made it again, this leg being our 3rd victory! The challenge was this time a bit too easy as only 3 boats passed the starting line officially. The representant of the City of Neiafu welcomed us to Tonga and thanked us for visiting their country.


More lovely Tongan people serving a delicious Tongan meal.


After dinner the City of Neiafu gave us a traditional dancing show.


Tongan dancing has long and strong traditions in Tonga. A vibrant and colourful experience is the dignified and graceful dancing. Expressing stories of Tongan history and legends, the Lakalaka (just one of the traditional dances of Tonga) is performed by both men and women. Dancers wear beautiful bracelets, neck garlands an tekiteki (feather headpiece) to enhance movements and intricate gestures. Dancing is a graceful Tongan art form that has been recognised by the United Nations as a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”. 

Our last evening in Tonga was great fun! The German trio: Hurbert from Chilie Bee, Bettina from Ain’t Fancy and Sheila.


The four from Alcedo of Ryme: Anthony, Venitia, Sally and David. Gina and Andy from Into The Blue.


The Finnish fun crew of Mearra Nieida. Alex making sure to be among the big ones!


Our very last day before leaving Tonga for Fiji we went shopping at the market for fruits and vegetables. As all markets, it’s full of amazing people and bargaining!


This woman had baked herself banana cakes and sold them outside the market before it opened at 8h00. It was delicious!


This tomato picture is really ironic as we had such a hard time finding tomatoes in the French Polynesia. We were lucky to get any tomatoes if we were at the market at the latest by 7h00 in the morning. Here the abundance is obvious!


No boxes available we kindly accepted to take one of their weaved baskets!

The last bits and pieces to purchase before leaving: fuel for the dinghy and fresh bread for the first morning at sea.

Fiji here we sail!