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Monday, October 12, 2015

Scootering Neiafu Highlights

While not the lookout point we’d sought, this section of underbrush
was interesting enough in its own right.  Vava’u Island,
near Neiafu, Tonga’s Vava’u area.
Touring Tonga over land generally requires acquiring a Tongan drivers license or joining a guided tour.  However, Tonga’s a bit more lax enforcing those laws when it comes to tourists renting scooters (though were advised it’s best not to tout that around the local police). 

We’re glad, as scootering’s become one our favorite budget-wise ways to quickly blitz an island.  Via Vava’u Adventures, for ~$20 USD + $5 USD gas, we toured the island for a half day.  We’d advise at least a day for Vava’u Island, Tonga’s the Nieafu Vava’u area.  The island is much more spread out than we realized!





The turnout for the non-lookout point; we were fascinated
by its ferrous orange brilliance.
We also advise a good map and good, land-mark based instructions for where you want to go. We left our better map aboard.  The map we acquired to fill its place was not that great.  It didn’t help that we didn’t have a clear itinerary or directions.  Unlike most other places we’ve scootered, there’s not a clear, circle the island road.












‘Utulu ‘aina P.oint, looking Westward.
Still, it wasn’t too hard to eventually find a map-marked scenic lookout, ‘Utulu ‘aina Point.  Looking out across the blustery, rock-strewn sea, we were grateful to for our calm anchorage in Neiafu.  Sea caves, arches, reefs and shallow bays flanked the spectacular rough-hewn albeit cruiser-unfriendly Vava’u Island Northern shore.  “This view is every bit as beautiful as the California coastline,” Wayne asserted.






‘Utulu ‘aina P.oint, natural arch in the sea, looking Westward.
‘Utulu ‘aina P.oint, looking Eastward.
We spent a chunk of our time, lost, though we generally don’t mind as we enjoy discovering whatever we happen upon.

At one point, where five streets intersected, we turned down what we thought was the road back into town.  We were wrong.  We took a minor spill when a deep crack appeared in the road before us unexpectedly, before we were able to turn around.





Blue vaka (outrigger canoe) beached at low tide.
Ene’io Beach, near Nieafu, Vava’u, Tonga.  
Locals, including kids, were happy to help when we proffered our map, a necessity given our Tongan-challenged vocabulary and pronunciation and their limited English.

We decided we had enough time to savor a cool drink and enjoy the view at Ene’io beach, a place I’d love to return for a tour of their Botanical Gardens on a sunny day.


Here’s a few photo highlights from our quick blitz….







Location Location
This post was finalized and posted in Neiafu, TONGA ( S18.39.443 W173.58.965).

Vava’u Island Tongan kids happy to ham it up for the camera
when we met them. We were scootering
around the Neiafu Vava’u area.
Cruising Progress by the Numbers
As of our start, December 7th 2014, from Jacksonville FL NAS, USA until our current (October 12, 2015) travels around the Neiafu, Tonga are -- 10 months, we’ve spent about a third of our time --125 days -- sailing and covered ~8,750 nautical miles.  The prior 2 years combined, we sailed 3762 miles.  By the time we arrive in New Zealand in November, less than a year from when we set out, we expect we’ll sail over 10,000 miles this year.  That’s a lot of miles for a boat with a hull speed of 7 knots; we usually sail far slower than that.