Exploring Neiafu

When we got up we read a pamphlet on Vava’u that we had picked up in town. The first thing it said was to beware of salesmen that approach your boat when you first arrive. Too bad the customs guys don’t hand out the pamphlets. Clearly, Alofi hangs around the wharf waiting for new arrival boats so he can be the first to get a hold of them. His prices on everything are outrageously expensive. He pushes you hard to buy before you get a chance to price shop. Cruisers, if you are approached by Alofi, just say no.

Minutes after reading that, a guy in a small boat pulled up and Continue reading Exploring Neiafu

Fools Feast

continued — While we were waiting for the immigration officer, an older man came by in a small boat with an outboard motor. His name is Alofi and he was selling jewelry. He invited us to a feast he was putting on this evening. We had read about Tongan Feasts and a cruising guide advised us to never turn one down. He promised lots of food and was very pushy about us attending. We were tired from the passage, and said we’d go before we found out the price, which was $30 each USD. It seemed high, but he was so pushy and promised so much that we didn’t bargain on price. He asked for some coke and invited himself inside. He told us he would meet us at the dinghy dock at 17:00. Continue reading Fools Feast

Welcome to Vava’u, Kingdom of Tonga

18-39 S by 174-00 W The independent nation of Tonga is a Kingdom that consists of 171 islands over an area of 700,000 square kilometers. Tonga is one of the few places in the South Pacific that was never colonialized by Europe, so the locals tend to live a more traditional lifestyle than the islands infiltrated by the Europeans. Tonga is a monarchy, but they have a judicial and legislative process modeled after the west. While colonial powers were rejected, the missionaries were readily accepted. Tonga is a very Christian nation, with all the major sects represented. The local laws require all businesses to close on Sundays and modest dress. Wearing immodest clothing will get you a hefty fine. Continue reading Welcome to Vava’u, Kingdom of Tonga

Chimney Dive and Niue Departure

On Sunday we had Keith from the yacht club and his wife, Sue, over for lunch. We had a nice visit with them. They brought us a batch of pineapple muffins, which we were excited about. Muffins make good passage food.

After lunch we went SCUBA diving with Eric and Gisela at a spot Keith told us about. When he first told us about it, we knew we couldn’t go. It is a more advanced dive to 100 feet, through a cave, and totally out of our league. However, Eric and Gisela are certified rescue divers, so when they arrived in port, we asked them to go with us. They also have a nice underwater diver camera. The dive is called “the chimney”. There is a sheer cliff that drops from 30 to 100 feet. Inside the cliff is a vertical cave, which opens up at the bottom. As you go in the cave, you look up a narrow opening 70 feet tall. From the surface, the opening looks like nothing more than a crack in the surface. The mouth of the cave isn’t visible from the surface, but just outside the mouth of the cave is an old jeep that was washed into the water during Heta. Continue reading Chimney Dive and Niue Departure

Niue Festival and More Exploring

This morning we were up early to go to a festival in the town of Lakepa on the other side of the island. Eric and Gisela joined us. Lakepa happens to be the next village over from where we ended our island tour on Thursday, so after the fair we would continue the island tour. Several people had told us to be at the festival by 0730 or 0800 to get good food. It would be over by noon at the latest. We have noticed that in Polynesia, they tend to get an early start on the day. All the markets begin at or before dawn and are over by 0800, which is why we have never gone to one. Continue reading Niue Festival and More Exploring