Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Vava'u Island

We left Niuatoputapu (Kingdom of Tonga) at 17:15 on October 8th after saying goodbye to everyone. We had a strong east wind that we had to beat into to get out of the lagoon around the Island before we could set our southerly course to Vava'u. Winds became southeast and strong for most of the trip but Sea Turtle does well in strong winds from most any angle.

Once we got in the lee of the main islands in Vava'u in the early hours of the morning, the islands sheltered us from the winds and we motored up the channel and into Koko Bay. On the way in, we passed lush green slopes and some interesting shore cliffs with caves. There were many boats sheltered at Koko Bay that use it as a base for great local cruising in and about the many islands here.

We tied up to a mooring ball at 08:15 (S18°39.846' W173°58.972') in front of the capital town of Neiafu. After a bit of a rough passage, it was so nice to be in such a calm harbour. It was exciting to see a few friends that we had not seen in a long while, including SV AKA and SV Buena Vista that we met in Mexico and SV Suvretpa that we met while in Chile.

After checking in with Customs, we wandered around the small town of Neiafu. There were a lot of waterfront restaurants, 2 teeny tiny grocery/hardware stores stocked with only a few basics, and the open air Utukalungalu Market of fresh fruit and vegetables. Glad I don't have to remember these complicated Tongan names! The market, besides produce, also has a section of homemade crafts such as tapas (pounded and painted bark of trees), baskets and other weavings, and carvings of bone and wood including ironwood (a type of hardwood).

It looks like this small building next to the gas station probably really needed an expansion but this blue addition really hangs over the road down below it. I wonder what Jordan is thinking?

Architectural disaster or wonderment?

One gentleman we spotted decided his pet pig needed a bath. So into the ocean they went as he gave his pink friend a wash with a bottle of pink soap.


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