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Greetings from the Island Nation of Niue

August 22, 2013

We are posting from Vava’u, Tonga, where we finally have Internet access, but this posting is all about our wonderful visit to the Island Nation of Niue (lat 19 03.1S, long 169 55.6W). The Island is 12 miles long with a population of 1,100 and is a quiet vacation spot for mostly New Zealanders. Niue suffered a devastating storm in 2004 that resulted in a mass exodus of roughly 10,000 people and the relocation of all government buildings from the bluffs above the sea to higher ground inland.

Our sail from Suwarrow to Niue lasted 3 days and consisted of a beam reach in sloppy seas that would occasionally slap the side of the boat and soak us. Sandie was rudely awakened from a deep sleep in the saloon when a wave found its way into the downwind hatch that had been opened to air things out.

We tied to a mooring in an open road-stead by the town of Alofi. The moorings are maintained by the Niue Yacht Club run by Ira and Brian to entice yachts that would otherwise shy away from an island with no suitable anchorages. The dinghy landing consists of a crane on a cement pier that lifts the dinghy onto the pier where it is rolled to a parking spot. It sounds awkward but works quite well.

We were a little shocked to find only one bank on the island and it did not have an ATM or the ability to advance money on credit or cash cards. Fortunately, the liquor store came to our rescue with New Zealand dollars and duty free alcohol.

We rented a car for the day and drove around the island. Niue is known for its limestone caves and they are spectacular. One cave opened to the sea with a large crystal clear pool that we enjoyed swimming in. We also snorkeled in a long narrow chasm that ancient royalty used to bathe in. We were totally blown away when we hiked through rain forest to the Togo Chasm. The forest gives way to an eerie landscape of lava spears that rise up 15 to 20 feet and would be impassable if it weren’t for a small cement trail that has been laid. In the middle of this lava field is a sunken oasis with sand and palm trees. But to get to it we have to climb down a 40 foot ladder.

There are some great restaurants on the island and they each have their special night so they don’t conflict with each other. You just look at the calendar and you know where to eat. While eating at Jennas Cafe on “buffet” night we met the owner Robin who invited us to church on Sunday followed by dinner with his extended family at his house. The locals were quick to tell us that this is a special treat since Robin fixes magnificent meals. We were not disappointed! He had coconut crab, shrimp, fish, chicken, poison cru, salads, yams, snails, mangos, and more. Robin has a wonderful family and we were able to converse in ENGLISH! Afterwards Robin drove us around and showed us the damage from the big storm where waves crashed on the streets up on the bluffs.

One evening we hitch hiked to the Washaway Café that is only open one day a week. It has a self-serve bar that operates on the honor system and has pretty good hamburgers. The best part is watching the sun set over the Pacific while enjoying our meal.

As we prepared to leave for Vava’u we made a last minute decision to head further north to Niuatoputapu which we remember fondly from our previous cruising. More about that in a future post.

Palaha Cave

Palaha Cave

Palaha Cave

Palaha Cave

Matapa Chasm where we snorkeled

Matapa Chasm where we snorkeled

Lava fields of Togo Chasm

Lava fields of Togo Chasm

Lava fields of Togo Chasm

Lava fields of Togo Chasm

Descending into the oasis at Togo Chasm

Descending into the oasis at Togo Chasm

Togo Chasm

Togo Chasm

Togo Chasm

Togo Chasm

Ira at the Niue Yacht Club

Ira at the Niue Yacht Club

Robin presents his meal

Robin presents his meal

Dinner at the Falala Fa Café

Dinner at the Falala Fa Café

Sandie at the self-serve Washaway Café

Sandie at the self-serve Washaway Café

Enjoying the sunset at the Washaway Café

Enjoying the sunset at the Washaway Café

Persephone on her mooring

Persephone on her mooring

The “fleet” at Alofi

The “fleet” at Alofi

Dinghy landing with the crane

Dinghy landing with the crane

Whales in the anchorage

Whales in the anchorage

Rugged lava coast line

Rugged lava coast line

Whale watch site

Whale watch site

Entering the Avaiki Cave

Entering the Avaiki Cave

Crystal clear swimming pool

Crystal clear swimming pool

Palaha Cave

Palaha Cave

Palaha Cave

Palaha Cave

Palaha Cave

Palaha Cave

From → Travel

2 Comments
  1. Patrick & Lisa McCabe (Always & Forever) permalink

    I’ve been on Google earth to find you. You seem to be ahead of schedule? Sure looks exciting.

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