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Published: July 31st 2008
At the start of our winter Moo & I escaped to warm Tonga, not knowing if it was ugly, beautiful, kind or aggressive or what it might be in attitude, but we were keen for it because it was our same old love for exploring new places. After our flight we were picked up by Toni from his (Toni’s) Guesthouse to get be taken for our first night experience there and… it was an amazingly attractive place to stay, a bit pricey ($15 /night) but the first one so no probs. We went for a bit of a walk around the small part of “town” we were in 2 c & chat to a bunch of locals, a collection of insects & small creatures. Also some little dairy places (expensive) and a couple of nice germans.
Next day we went 4 a trip around the whole island with Toni and a group of others where we saw a lot (~27) of churches, but a lot of the coast was attractive. One of the first stops was on the far NW corner, which is the home of a surf area, went for a swim in the beautiful clear & warm water
then had a yummy feed. We also stopped at other parts of the coast where there were blow-holes and caves. Another amazing feature for the day was graveyards that had spectacular large decorations for the dead (like the size of a house-room) which was for some, but not many…
In evening we walked to a local “restaurant” & had a nice feed with a couple of dutch people.
Caught the boat in the morning across to Eu’a island, which had amazingly clear weather to give enjoyable views on the way there. The other good one was meeting Sione, a decent guitarist, who was really friendly 2. We had some fruit 4 Tiana, who picked us up & took us 2 her place to stay, which was beautiful with coconut trees, much more fruit and spectacular little huts to stay in. I tried to call Sione, but not credit on the phone, so we went 4 a walk to check out a bit more of the island. Moo wanted the net, & surprise, surprise, Sione was in there too.
He came back for dinner & to play guitar, which was very motivating & he taught us some Tongan language too.
Another beauty 4 campin
Left for a bit of a hike when we’d sleep in our tent in the middle of island. Firstly went shoppin for food, then started the hike which was straightaway fairly confusing & we kept finding that the description in our guide was no-longer correct & that’s why we were forever walkin down more little sections of track than we needed to. Found a nice little pool in a stream for a swim, then a large, no, very LARGE banyan tree. L8er found a spot 4 tent at which point I ran back to stream 2 clean my muddy, no, very MUDDY sandals. Made it back at dark to help Moo with food “prep”, on dry-noodles…
In the morning I went 2 fill up 2 water bottles & then we went in search of a waterslide comin down a 45 degree hill of rock. It was flowing, but not with much water and the water was dirty brown so no good for entering, but good to see it just to know that. Then our mission once again was finding where we may be able to complete our circle that day to get back 2 Taina’s guesthouse. Again, looking
at a bunch of different options was a good way to figure it out without takin all our gear for a little return trip. Was actually nice to see those little extra parts too just to have a good idea of what we were passing…
We ended up seeing some locals using a machine to stack pine trees on the back of a truck to take to the village and use. About 15 mins after passing we heard their truck coming & tried to get away from the deep mud so we wouldn’t get sprayed as it went past. Got to a spot just b4 it came past, but they stopped and said “Get On!”, so we did. Funny trip sitting up on the back while trying to avoid getting knocked on the head by branches & leaves on trees. They had to stop 2 remove a tree from the road itself & they ended up goin right next to Taina’s where we said “Malo Aupito” and jumped off. Total nice/adventurous hiking/splashing trip.
Went 4 a walk to the west coast 2 get wet & look at any fish we could find. 5km walk to a beautiful golden beach
with some nicely overhanging trees to climb on the branches of 4 a bit of X-R-size while we were havin our otherwise cruisy start to winter. In the water were, sure enough, a whole bunch of fish that were nicely coloured (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, almost like a rainbow, but a few black & white’s too). Also some starfish, big & coloured blue or black, some jellyfish and an octopus! One of the challenges then was trying to resist the current that was sucking the water out over shallow sharp rocks into the waves. It was a challenge, enough that when I swam fast I could stay in the same spot. On a few occasions I held onto parts of rock to resist it.
Back on the beach after I did some cartwheels & round-offs, just 4 fun. Another beauty of a day & tried to call Sione to play guitar, but no-one home, so did more gymnastic activity…
On boat back to Nuku-alofa & we tried to find a place to sleep ‘cause the guesthouses were all busy with the start of the holiday season. Got to Pleasant Lodge, which was the most beautiful so far!
Went with 2 French girls, a Kiwi & Israeli couple for a look at what was 4 sale etc… Moo cooked some dinner l8r, which was quite appalling, so I took her out 4 abendessen at nice Thai place, which was a yummy comparison!
Flew next day to Vava’u island 2 catch up with Kez & A-M & it was gr8 2 see them! Kez & I played guitar & sung at Bounty bar that night, which was good enough 4 the owner, Sean, to invite us out to Mala island the next day 2 1st day of resort he was given control of with clients arriving.
Waited for taxi in morning by playin cards ‘n’ guitar… Boat ride out to island which was amazingly startling with it’s cute appearance which we saw a lot of with our little tour of the resort to help with prep 4 clients arriving that day. Went down to beach for a snorkel which had another bunch of coloured fish & we ate some breadfruit and coconut b4 our “game-time”. We had a coconut each 2 throw 2 get closest to a little vege (like Petanque) to get a point in a first
to 5 game. Lasted not-long, was very enjoyable! L8r me & Kez played guitar 4 the first guests that arrived (which was the main reason we were invited to be there…
Said “Tchuss, ciao” to Kez & A-M, who were flying to Ha’apai for a few days, then leaving Tonga, then we went searching for a new place to stay. Found Port Wine backpackers where we were given permission to sleep in tent. We then hired bikes for day and went ~16km to the north coast which had a spectacular view from the top of a cliff of a beautiful beach which we wanted to go down to. We found a track by a Yam plantation that led d own to it. It was a little beauty & we once again went 4 a snorkel! Also nice 2 be nude without anyone being there to watch! Finally back to tent to have a sleep after a tiring day on a little bike.
Got some food, left some gear in the Port Wine house, then hitched (1st car picked us up) to Kaitera beach on the NE coast which was another nice one. We walked along the beach &
found a place with a big boulder & trees to camp under so set the tent up there. Went 4 a snorkel, which was really shallow with sharp things that I tried to not stand on, then a nice 6m drop into water. Not so many fish there, but worth the mission of getting there!!! The boulder over the tent had some holds that were nice & big & allowed me to campus 4 exercise.
Beautiful night with moonlight and other fun stuff… Next day we got up & walked to the west end of beach for a look at some more of the rock that was potentially good climbing, but hadn’t been touched yet. Nice rock, but also very sharp! L8r walked back to road to hitch along to middle beach on east coast, which had a nice café to sit & eat in. Just on the beach was that same aussie couple we had met at Port Wine who came over & sat with us for a discussion & a came of cards.
Next wee trip was on a ferry to Ha'apai island. Ferry left at 11:30pm & was 9 hours so arriving @ 8:30 4
a nice day. We decided to sleep up on top with was nice while still in harbour 4 first 1/2 hour, then entered wavey ocean which made it unpleasant, so I stood up to avoid sickness. I felt better standing up, but Moo felt worse. Total 9 hour trip was really sickening & we arrived absolutely exhausted & didn't know where 2 go. We started to hitch, but no-one picked us up so we stopped & lay-down for a break. Decided the nearest place would be good (at least 4 a rest/sleep). Then got picked up & taken there which was a relief enough to have a sleepy experience as soon as we were in. We went 4 a nice little swim in the evening which provided a nice sunset view & fun climbing on a little boat 2 jump off...
Day 2 there we hired a couple of bikes, like mini bikes 'cause the straightest my legs would get was ~ 80 degrees, and that made it really exhausting. But went to the south end of the island where it is a possibility to walk through the water to the next island at low tide, but that was
not quite our situation. Soon after we got there we saw 2 horses turn up & start crossing the water and ~4 dogs were cryin out 'cause they were gettin left behind, but 2 scared to cross with them! Explored a lot of 2 islands that day, which was a mission of a workout on the wee bike, but relatively good 4 fitness!
Took our flight back to Nuku'alofa & went again to Pleasant Lodge, which had room again! On last day, sunday, we went out to Pangaimotu island, which we firstly walked around (which took ~ 1/4 hour then played some volleyball with Tongans, US & Aussie tourists. L8r those US dudes (a bit of alcohol inside) were climbing up a shipwreck and jumpin off ~ 7m height into waist-depth water. That was healthy enough, but then they started doin 4-flips & backflips. That became a little dodgy 'cause they were landing on full fronts or backs and suffering from pain! Made some gr8 shots though...
On last day b4 leaving we went 2 buy a bunch of gifts 4 friends when we got back & we found a bunch of good stuff, but it had 2
be fast so we could get to airport on time! Was a pleasurable experience 4 start of our winter back home, just "unglaublich verrueckten sehr gut!"
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