We've been really enjoying our time in the Vava'u group, in the Kingdom of Tonga for the past month. The last time we were here was 29 years ago, as tourists out to explore the south pacific...by airplane at that time. What a difference 3 decades has made to the little town of Neiafu. The main street is paved, and little expat run bars and restaurants cater to the yacht cruiser trade.
But once out of town, the islands are much as they've always been. Small villages with few modern conveniences are typical, and people live, for the most part, at a subsistence level. People seem happy, and all we've met have been welcoming, warm, and friendly (Captain Cook called Tonga "the friendly isles" for obvious reasons).
We've been snorkeling and diving up a storm, as the Vava'u group of islands offers terrific coral gardens and caves to explore. Swallows cave is terrific, as we remember, especially in the afternoon sun....
|Cindi having no fun at all!!!|
We also made friends here with David and Hikka on their island of Vaka'eitu. David's great grandfather lived on the island and received a 150 year lease from the king many years ago. The island has been deserted for years, and David and his family have recently settled on the island, moving from the Tongan capital of Nukalofa. Kind of a Swiss Family Robinson goes to the tropics, they warmly welcomed us into their clan. David, friend John from 'Mystic Moon' and Adam went fishing, and David invited us to the church on Lappe island where he was the guest minister for one Sunday morning, and included a village feast afterward.
These Tongans definitely know how to feast. If I were a little pig I'd be afraid, very afraid!!! Just sayin.....
Thanks, David and Hikka, for sharing your lives with us!
|Carol finds the cruising life not TOO tough to adapt....|
Here are a few more shots from our travels of the past month around Vava'u. We'll be moving south from the Vava'u island group to Hapaii in a few days. Then on to the capital, Nukalofa, where we'll prepare for the 7-8 day passage to New Zealand.
|Adam makes friends with Angel, a local piglet.|
|Ancient low tide rock quarry, with some pieces still unfinished.|
|Remember the "Intergalactic Bar" scene from Star Wars??? Could have been filmed here at La Paella Restaurant!!!|
|Traditional boat sailed in from New Zealand, after completing a circumnavigation of the Pacific.|
|Another Bravo hike.....wouldn't be complete without bushwhacking!!!|
|Another trip up the mast.....repairs never ending after over 7000 miles of voyaging this year. The mantra has become: "JUST GET US TO NEW ZEALAND"!!! (where we'll be contributing greatly to NZ's GDP)|