We’ve heard that over 500 yachts visit Tonga every year. Most of the sailboats coming across the Pacific will be heading south to New Zealand or Australia by the end of the year. Tonga is well positioned as the place to stop heading west and turn south to get out of the traditional cyclone (hurricane) zone. Tonga is also a great place to spend the winter (April-Oct) if you already have your sailboat in New Zealand.
This means there are a lot of cruisers in Vava’u! It is a bit odd for us, as we have spent the last two months exploring some quiet places. Of course it is great too; we get to catch up with people we have met along the way.
|Neiafu Harbour, Vava'u Group
The Vava’u group of islands is a lot more developed than the Ha’apai group. There is a real town here, a bunch of restaurants and some boat services. Happy hour at the Mango Café is at 4pm and they offer beers for $4 TOP (about $2 USD). Many days here are spent getting some jobs done on the boat, meeting friends at the Mango at 4pm for some beer and then heading to another restaurant for dinner. It is great to catch up with everyone, but it is getting monotonous.
Luckily, there are over 40 anchorages in Vava’u, all within 10 miles of each other. Most of the islands in Vava’u are low hills, with jagged rocks that rise quickly from the water. The scenery reminds us of the Gulf Islands and the San Juan Islands back home, except the pine trees here are interspersed with palm trees. So, after buying some provisions in town, we head out to do some exploring.