June 15, 2013
Pangaimotu, Tongatapu, Tonga.
We’re now anchored off Pangaimotu Island – a little palm-covered islet about a mile from down-town Nuku’alofa. Though it’s the capital, Nuku’alofa isn’t renowned as a highlight of Tonga. We have been in to town a few times – it’s not much of a town to speak of: very dilapidated and poor, though no beggars or homeless people to be seen (family and church are big here).
The locals are very warm and welcoming – people on the street say hello and the girl that helped me on our first day in the Digicel (phone/internet) shop came around the counter to give me a hug when I went back the second time. You don’t get that too often in Sydney!
We did a little trip yesterday – caught a ‘bus’ (Econovan) out of town to what the guide book says is Tonga’s most important archaeological site. Right. Don’t think I’ve ever been so underwhelmed by an historical site before. We struggled to find it – the sign for it was scribbled on a piece of plywood. So we struck out on foot in the direction of one of the southern beaches – walked about 10-15km all up – and that was nice, though we didn’t stay long as we were afraid we’d never get back to town (infrequent buses).
The day before we put the kayaks in the water – at last! – and discovered they float, at least. And went for a paddle across to a nearby island – it was a gorgeous day and the water was all the shades of turquoise it’s supposed to be in the tropics.
At this stage, we think we’ll head out of here on Monday (?) and head north to the Ha’apai group of islands, which are supposed to be idyllic, though very basic and mostly uninhabited. We’ll work our way north from there towards the Vava’u group. Don’t know if we’ll stay here in Tonga the whole season or move on to Fiji – that’s the No Plan Plan! I am still really keen to go swimming with the whales!
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