Galley Wench Tales

Exploring the world through the people we meet
and the food they eat.

The hike from Neiafu harbor to Mt. Talau is gradual – that is –
until you get to the badly-cambered, ladder-like cement steps
just before the end.
Wayne accuses me of always dragging him up to the highest point around.  He’s partly right – I do love a view.  So much so, I’m often willing to go on my own to get it when he’s not in the mood (like I did on French Polynesia’s Maupiti, then came up a second time with him, so he could see just how spectacular it was).

Neiafu harbor and Neiafutahi (Old Harbor).

View off the back side of Mt. Talau, the causeway over Vaipua inlet.

Fortunately, Patty of Armagh’s often as willing as I am, and her husband Steve isn’t, to put one foot in front of another for exercise and scenery.  Steve has not entirely forgiven me for getting us all to hike 17 km from one side of Fatu Hiva to the other (click here for that) – another truly epic hike.

Neiafu harbor view as seen from Mt. Talau, Tonga, Vava’u islands.

Naturally, in Tonga’s Neiafu, the top place is Mt. Talau’s plateau, 430 meters up. I’d tried a few days earlier solo, but decided to turn back when the walk became too wet.  What’s the point of a vista when you can’t see anything?  I am not that much of a solo exercise buff. Then the weather looked a little more promising, and Patty was up for some exercise, too.  Steve and Wayne, meanwhile, enjoyed some solo boat time, while Patty and I trekked.

BIG spider we saw on our way down!
Glad we didn’t encounter this on the trail.

After far too much time stuck aboard, due to passages, crappy weather or polluted water, neither Patty nor I are in tip-top shape these days, something both of us vow to change over cyclone season in New Zealand.  We commiserated with each other over both being out of breath taking the ladder-like stairs to Mt. Talau’s top.  “It sucks, being out of shape,” I complained, frustrated with myself.

Still, overall the hike is not a difficult or long one.  The view is about on par with the effort, nice, but not spectacular.  On a sunnier day, we know Vavau’s Tongan waters would look far more impressive in hues of blue, but cloud cover put a damper on their show.  Given the dearth of sunshine we’ve had in Vava’u, I’d rather snorkel than hike on a sufficiently sunny stretch.

We took the time on the way back to stop and smell
the flowers… though these pretties had no scent.

This time, the rain didn’t start until we were about halfway back to town.  Our jackets kept us moderately dry, as did the overhang of a porch where we tucked in during the wettest moments.  We heard the strains of a band, and followed it to the Blue Water Festival event, a fundraising native dance performance given by local schoolchildren (click here for images and story of Tonga’s Tiny dancers).

Mt. Talau is about a 4 of a scale of 1-10 for viewpoint hikes in my book (Maupiti’s viewpoint ranks a 9 for me, and Fatu Hiva’s long hike an 8).  Admittedly, I’m a bit of a tough grader.  Still, it’s easy, offers pleasant enough view, and it was good to get some walkies in for a change. 

Location Location
This post was written in Neiafu, Vava’u TONGA (S18.39.443 W173.58.965) and posted in Pangai, Ha’apai TONGA (lat/long update forthcoming).
Cruising Progress by the Numbers
As of our start, December 7th 2014, from Jacksonville FL NAS, USA until our current (October 24, 2015) travels around the Neiafu, Tonga are — 10 months, we’ve spent about a third of our time –127 days — sailing and covered ~8,825 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.

Wifi access will be very limited until we arrive in NEw Zealand in mid-November. There will be catch-up posts.