Published on 07 june 2009 at 0h00
If, like the famous English sailor James Cook, you like discovering new lands and real emotions, you will love the Tonga Islands. This little kingdom has not really changed since the XVIIIth century, when Cook called it the ‘Friendly Island’. An original destination, in the heart of the Pacific, with numerous islands which will make you relive the fantastic treasure island epic. A real elixir of youth!
Situated in the Pacific, around 650 km to the east of the Fiji Islands and north of New Zealand, and consisting of more than 170 small and large islands divided into three main archipelagos, the Tonga Islands have only recently opened up to charterers looking for new destinations... Sunsail has in fact just opened a base at Neiafu in the capital of Vava’u, which is the ideal departure point to explore the fifty or so green islands which form the archipelago.
The Vava’u archipelago, a group of islands situated to the north of Tonga, enjoys an idyllic climate which allows cruising all the year round. Here you will find richly-coloured scenery, blue lagoons hemmed with white sandy beaches and bright green coconut plantations. You will dive into the universe of the islands as soon as you leave the base; the natural harbour at Neiafu, which reaches depths close to 200 feet, is a real, life-sized aquarium. During the summer, you will often sail amongst groups of humpbacked whales and other amazing marine creatures. The scenery will take your breath away, with notably some superb lagoons and caves with a torrid atmosphere... And then there is the water in the Tongas; deep, intensely coloured and incredibly rich. Finally, the coloured coral reefs are amongst the most beautiful in the world, and diving in these waters is just like a visit to an aquarium.
This new destination will offer you the cruise of your dreams, along a wild coastline, with steep cliffs covered in tree ferns. In short, your cruise in the Tongas will remain in your memory for ever, thanks to a climate which is almost perfect all the year round, an incredible luxuriance and beauty to take your breath away.
A unique experience, not to be missed, and one which you will without a doubt share with your friends...
Neiafu base to Hunga Island - 13 miles.
2nd day: Vaka'eitu - 9 miles.
3rd day: Lisa Beach via Mouni - 10 miles.
4th day: Kenutu via Mananita - 18 miles.
5th day: Taunga via Eueiki - 6 miles.
6th day: Port Marelle via Nuku - 8 miles.
7th day: Neiafu base via Lotuma - 4 miles.
What to do and see:
Port Maurelle is the place where the Spaniard, Maurelle, landed – the first European to visit Vava’u. It is a superb, protected natural area.
From this central island, you can sail to more than 40 anchorages, a good number of which are only two hours’ sail from the base.
N’uapapu, Hunga and Vaka’eitu
To the west, you can discover the islands of N’uapapu, Hunga and Vaka’eitu. The big lagoon at Hunga is formed by the crater of an extinct volcano. Here you will find a traditional village. A little further, on the west coast of N’uapapu, is the fascinating Mariner’s Cave, an underwater cave which good swimmers will be able to discover. On Vaka’eitu, you will find a perfect, safe anchorage where you can spend the night.
Mananita is surrounded by cliffs, which provide superb areas for diving with a mask and snorkel. Sailing through the reefs will lead you to some wonderful white sand beaches.
Kenutu is an idyllic lagoon for an overnight anchorage, with a superb beach which is
perfect for diving or visiting the caves along the coast.
No particular risks. Take anti-mosquito lotion, which is always useful...
Sailing is possible all the year round, but the best conditions are from May to November. The Tonga Islands have a wet, tropical climate, moderated by the trade winds blowing from the south-east. The driest, coolest months are between May and November. From December to March, the climate is wetter, with tropical rain at the end of the day.
The Islands are sometimes affected by hurricanes between December and March.
- SAILING CONDITIONS:
Sunsail is offering charter with or without a skipper. In the latter case, you must be an ‘experienced’ skipper. Winds vary from 8 to 12 knots.
Tongan pa'anga - (1 euro = 2.82 Pa'anga)
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