It was great to get to know Tonga. We think it is the ideal destination for yachties. It must be fantastic to sail the different island groups with a big yacht. The number of yachts floating around Vava’u makes you think that more people are aware of this. The bonus is obviously the whale spotting and swimming in the right season. We have noticed that Tongans are, just like on other Polynesian islands, very big. Big in height and in width. You see many guys that are as tall as I am and three times as wide. They often wear traditional clothes and they have a beautiful light brown skin colour. Traditional means a long skirt with a straw mat wrapped around it. It looks rather uncomfy.
And there are many fruit bats. They are gigantic and rather creepy when they leave in search of fruit at dusk.We have been on Huahine for a week already. It is one of the lesser known and therefore less touristic islands in French Polynesia. It takes three days to get here from Tongatapu. First you need to return to Auckland. It gives you the opportunity to shop for western supplies and to enjoy a good meal with better wine. The flight to Tahiti is the next day. You will cross the date line and you will go back in time one day. Kind of a Groundhog Day. Next day will be the same day as when you left Auckland. So that’s Back to the Future. Confused? Same here.
Air Tahiti will take you to one of the other islands. Most people go, sometimes with a stopover, to Bora Bora. Bora, as some call it here, does have a gorgeous lagoon. We know because we visited it during our previous travels. But it’s also very touristy and as our hostess Sylvie says: “Il n’y a pas de vie”.
Huahine consists of two islands that are connected and is pretty small, about 20 by 40 km. We have however split up our stay in two: first a few days in the Northern part and then the same number of days in the South. The lodge in the North was close to the largest town which has a real supermarket en gives you the option to visit one of the restaurants. Or to got to a roulotte (a food truck), aka snack, where they take portions very seriously. A steak frites is more than enough for two.The pension offered a package deal including the rental of a car and a boat for a day each. That is the best way to discover the island. Going by boat is naturally the best. In a day you can navigate most of both islands. You will sail in turquoise waters on the inside of the reef that runs around the islands. You just stop at one of the beautiful deserted beaches for a swim and to have lunch. Or just to stare at the fantastically coloured water.
At the moment we are in the South (‘ze deep sous’ according to Tinau, our Northern host) and we are staying in a wonderful bungalow right at the beach. The deserted beach where we stopped during our boat trip is at a motu, a little island, right across from here. It’s only ten minutes by kayak. We’ve paddled over two times already to go snorkelling. It’s not very spectacular under water but then again, we are very spoiled. But when you encounter two rather big black tip reef sharks while snorkelling, it does make it a lot more exciting.
There are hardly any restaurants or roulottes around. You can also dine in the lodge’s fale, the communal area, together with host and hostess and the other guests. It’s actually quite nice to exchange stories with other travellers and learn more about island life.
Tomorrow we will be leaving for our last destination: Fakarava. Faka is even smaller and the only thing you can do there is diving. They say it is spectacular so we are looking forward to it.