Monday, September 18, 2017

Week One: sailing the Vava'u group in the Kingdom of Tonga

Vava'u Archipelago, Kingdom of Tonga

Sailing straight south from Niuatoputapu to Tonga’s Vava’u group was our smoothest sail since leaving Mexico. For the first time in months, the sea state was glass like, Terrapin sailed in a light beam reach and the four of us remembered what it was like to enjoy a passage.
Not what we were expecting
Sailing upon the Vava’u island group was a bit of a shock.  The scattered islands in this small group were unlike anything we had witnessed in the South Pacific, they consist of limestone plateaus covered with more deciduous and evergreen trees than the expected coconut palms.  

Anchorage in Neiafu
We spent the first two nights in Neiafu, checking in, provisioning with fresh produce and grabbing hamburgers before setting off to explore. The highlight of our first week here has to be swimming in Swallows Cave!  Tonga has been better than expected. We had been reading about the deplorable conditions, which we’ve yet to find. There are many homes and businesses here owned and operated by expats from various locations, which is most likely the reason why there are plenty of bars and fun places to eat scattered around Neiafu. Tonga is much more developed than we were anticipating. From the Soggy Paws Compendium, we were thinking Tonga would be nothing more than a country of mud huts, with very few services to offer. Far from it.

Local school boys wearing a traditional ta'ovala, a woven mat around their waist.

Neiafu produce market

In addition to the Vava’u group, which offers 42 charted anchorages sprinkled around the archipelago, there’s the Ha’apai group, (which lies South of us) which we also plan to explore. We plan to extend our 30 day visa to give us time to check out more of this area. 

Swallows Cave

Sailing within the archipelago requires zoomed in charts and often the first mate standing on the bow. This is a tricky area if you're not careful!

No comments:

Post a Comment