Blogs from Tonga, Oceania

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Oceania » Tonga » Vava'u » Nuku February 27th 2014

21st February Nuku’alofa, Tonga Having missed the 19th February by crossing the international dateline we find ourselves in Tonga for the ships maiden port of call Nuku’alofa. This was to be an anchor port but we learnt that the new wharf had recently been completed and we were able to berth alongside the port. As it was a maiden call the band and local dignitaries were out in force but nobody told them about the weather. The approach to the port was through torrential rain (liquid sunshine) and we thought we were going to be in for a wet day. However, as we left the ship it began to brighten up but the rain had left the car parks where the coaches had parked somewhat damp/waterlogged (must be like home) Nuku’alofa is the capital ... read more
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Oceania » Tonga » Tongatapu February 1st 2014

Amid the usual frivolity and fish kissing that marks the Equator crossing ceremony, we passed into the Southern Hemisphere. The seas were so smooth we hardly felt the bump when we crossed over the line. As we approached the deep harbor of Pago Pago, we were escorted into port by three leaping dolphins, two tugs and hundreds of flying fish. Pago Pago is considered the wettest harbor in the world, but fortunately we had bright, warm, sunny weather. Mt Alava, aka the “Rainmaker,” towers above the harbor in this fjord-like setting. Even though it is called American Samoa there is a lot more Samoan culture than American. There are U.S. Post Offices, Food Stamps, Mormans, McDonalds and baseball caps. But the traditions and culture are the result of over 3000 years of Polynesian heritage. Although most ... read more
KING NEPTUNE RULES THE WAVES
FISH KISS
SAMOAN MARKET SCENE

Oceania » Tonga » Tongatapu May 29th 2012

29th May ‘12 – 2nd June ‘12 The Kingdom of Tonga! We landed at Nuku’alofa airport at 10.30pm and were led to the duty free shop – turns out this is the cheapest duty free in the whole of the South Pacific so after the ridiculous price in Sydney, which meant I didn’t buy any I dived in to get some cigarettes. We were met by a lovely guy called Peter (with an unfortunate cauliflower growth by his mouth) who was our lift to Toni’s Guesthouse where we were going to stay. As the ATM at the airport was out of order he stopped at one for us and also took us to a local shop where we were allowed behind the barred window counter to choose some food and drinks. The guesthouse is made up ... read more
Nuku'alofa
Nuku'alofa
Pangimoto Island

Oceania » Tonga » Tongatapu » Kanokupolu May 10th 2012

26.04.2012 Nach einem guten Flug kamen wir in Tonga an. Dort haben wir zwei Wochen relaxt und das gute Wetter genossen. Am 10.05. ging unser Flug zurück nach Auckland.... read more
Haustiere?
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Unsere Fale

Oceania » Tonga » Tongatapu April 8th 2012

After and awesome week discovering Sydney and it’s closeby countryside was finally heading off to Tonga. Caught early transfer to airport in case things went wrong and was way too early to checkin so had to sit around playing computer for a few hours. Man checked me into window seats for both flights though J Then finally checked in and issue with luggage, whether I had to pick it up in Aukland or could check it straight through. Finally checked straight through and went into AirNZ lounge. Very nice having dinner and a couple of rums, which with the electrical storm outside that delayed our flight was highly valued. Only had cheap seats so couldn’t watch movies and didn’t need to eat with the lounge pass anyway. Listened to Toby Keith’s Clancy’s Tavern and Brad Paisley’s ... read more
Tonga fishing
Tonga fish nets
Tongan life

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Oceania » Tonga » Ha'apai January 27th 2012

On Lifuka, in the Ha’apai island group, a chance encounter led to the semi-mothballed arts and craft centre being opened for us. An elderly Tongan lady showed us how to weave with strips of dried tree bark. Her birth-marked arm and crooked arthritic finger worked faster than we could comprehend, creating a patterned mat. It was getting late, and she had to be persuaded to let Mina finish the job another day. Which she did, with admirable patience and skill. Although Ha’apai is now a relative backwater in Tongan terms, it was the site of two notable pieces of British naval history. The mutiny on the Bounty took place in these Tongan waters, in 1789. Almost twenty years later, the privateer ship Port-au-Prince was ransacked, burnt and sunk, just in the bay by where we stayed. ... read more
Brian, our divemaster
Different kind of feeding
Uoleva Island

Oceania » Tonga » Tongatapu January 20th 2012

Secret? Not really. Strange? Yes, decidedly. We visited two of Tonga’s island groups. Tongatapu, which houses the capital, Nuku’alofa, and Ha’apai, a few hundred miles to the north, and decades in the past. Tapu gives us the word taboo – the only Tongan word to make its way into English. Tonga meanwhile, means south. So Secret South it is. If the Tongans were solely responsible for their tourism, this is perhaps how it would remain. The few elements of tourist infrastructure that we saw tended to be run by foreigners, mainly Europeans. By their own admission, Tongans are not great business people. They’re not particularly keen on the beach either, meaning on our visits we usually had the sea and sand to ourselves, along with the aquatic life. So untouched are some of the waters, that ... read more
Memorial to Cpn Cook's landing
Landbridge
Fruit bats

Oceania » Tonga » Tongatapu February 8th 2011

I was compliaing in Bali how it's overrun by tourist. Now I'm complaining about lack of tourist infrastructure here. Those who do try to provide services for tourist, nice one, it must be a difficult business!... read more
Tongatapu from air
Pangaimotu
Dance show, Hina Cave

Oceania » Tonga » Tongatapu February 5th 2011

En route from Tahiti to Tonga we crossed the 180˚ meridian of longitude which is called the International Date Line. When it is crossed going west a day is lost in the process. When it is crossed going east then the same day is repeated. As we are steaming west, we lost Feb 2. Our date on the ship jumped from Feb 1 to Feb 3 overnight. We had no Wednesday, no Groundhog Day, and people who celebrate their birthdays or anniversaries on Feb 2 had to have the party on another day. Those of us who are continuing on around the world will gain that day back hour by hour as we pass through the time zones on our westerly way to Europe. Those that are flying home from New Zealand will arrive in the ... read more
Balloon races.
Aurelia and Nyoman
The Housekeepers Booth

Oceania » Tonga » Vava'u November 29th 2010

For a group of islands in the South Pacific, Tonga is not as popular as Hawaii, nor as spectacular as Tahiti or Fiji. But if you want to experience authentic Polynesian culture, there is nothing like Tonga. It's a unique place that is not easy to get to or even find on a map. In 2004, I went to Tonga to swim with humpback whales. (I already posted about whale swimming, so I'll just focus on describing Tonga.) Tonga is a collection of more than 175 islands, most of them small. To get to Tonga from the U.S., I flew from San Francisco -->Hawaii-->Samoa-->to the main island on Tonga. Still, it took another flight and a boat ride to get to tiny Mounu island, where I stayed. Less than 5 people live on that island. Tonga ... read more




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