VAVA'U, TONGA GROUP Part 2            Sept - Oct 2004


Ano Beach was a beautiful protected anchorage, albeit quite popular so very crowded. It was home for the "Ark Gallery" where an industrious women sells her work in a little building on floats. Ano Beach was a great place to walk to town (2 hours) or just visit with friends. The snorkeling there was mediocre but the water was warm and clear.


Jamming at the Restaurant

One afternoon, Kirk (Gumbo Ya-Ya) and Gord got together with a local guitarist, Fernando, at the Italian Restaurant on the adjacent island. Soon Gregg, Sujata and Michael joined in with their instruments and it turned into a really fun jam session.

Tongan Feast

October 9
A huge group of us attended a Tongan Feast put on by the locals at Ano Beach. Local crafts were for sale on the beach consisting of an array of baskets, jewellery, carvings and weaving made on the spot. Fresh flower leis only cost 1 Tongan dollar.

Almost 70 cruisers showed up and we were entertained by some young talent before dinner. Look for Ascension in the background of some of the photos below.

The kids were really adorable in their costumes and even the very youngest made an attempt to dance. It was obvious that the participants really enjoyed entertaining the cruisers.

We sat around woven mats under a canopy anxiously awaiting the banquet to begin. They brought out all assortments of unusual foods, wrapped in taro leaves, or served in hollowed out bamboo stalks. You ate with your fingers and each little wrapped package held a different surprise, although we never knew exactly what it was.





A sail through a rather tricky pass brought us to a pretty little anchorage just inside a reef. Gumbo Ya-Ya and Camera were the only other boats anchored there. We took a walk along the beach and hiked with Kirk and Nancy to the other side of the islands where the surf crashed against high exposed cliffs.




The anchorage proved to be too shallow for our 8 foot draft and the first night we were there we bumped against the bottom at low tide. It made for a sleepless night for sure. The next day the weather threatened to worsen and we all decided to leave the rather unprotected anchorage. We headed back to Neiafu to get some supplies.


October 20
Neiafu was still Party Central when we returned. We spent an evening at the Mermaid, then went to Anna's Cafe next door for a few drinks.

The gang at Mermaids

Holly dances with kids

Young war dancers

Watching the performance

The kids love to perform

Michael, Robin, Duncan

Michael & Kiki  dance

Gord, Duncan, Becky

October 27, 2004

We finally checked out of Nieafu and moved back to Port Morelle to wait for a weather window to set sail for the Ha'apai group of Islands (central Tonga) and on to Nuku'alofa (southern Tonga). Mag Mel, Maajhi-Ra, Stardust, Ali Kai Two, and Endless were also in the anchorage waiting with us. We were fortunate in that 2 of the boats had hired different weather routers to help plan the passage and they shared their information with us. Because of this information we decided to head straight for New Zealand and bypass visiting central and southern Tonga this season. We finally agreed on a day that was good to go and all weighed anchor within a couple of hours of each other. Billabong, Camera, Ocean Girl, Whisper and Island Sonata followed a few days later.