Galley Wench Tales

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

Nuku beach, as seen from the water.  Vava’u islands, Tonga.

The first time Wayne took a beach day was in Panama, on Contadora, seven months and about as many thousands of miles ago.  Vava’u’s Nuku Beach marked only the second place and time this year Wayne was able to truly lounge on the beach for a bit.

This suns slips out behind the clouds, illuminating the water and
prompting Patty to snap a view of Nuku island.

Nuku island is a small anchorage, though it’s also only a short dinghy ride from Port Maurelle.  It took about 10 minutes in our pokey, 5-horse dinghy.

Lounging on the beach; just what the doctor ordered for Steve, Wayne & Patty. Nuku island, Vava’u, Tonga

Patty, happy to pose on our Nuku island, Tonga
beach day walkabout.

As we arrived at low tide. That meant Patty and I were able to walk around a good portion of the island perimeter; Nuku’s interior was dense with shrubbery.  The amble offered a great view of the surrounding islands, the path rife with treacherously shallow, albeit pretty, turquoise waters. 

Heron on Nuku island, Vava’u, Tonga.  These fellows are generally
camera-shy; my 60x zoom helps in getting a decent photo.

Meanwhile, “the boys”, Wayne and Steve, lounged, book, Kindle and libations in hand.

When the sun came out and decided to shine more brightly, Patty and I once again went mobile, cameras in hand.  In good light, which we’ve not seen a lot of in Vava’u, Tonga, the waters sparkle magnificently.  Then it’s hard not to practically orgasmically “Oohh!” and  “Ahhhh!” as if watching a spectacular fireworks display.

The captain from the tour ship that stop at
Nuku for lunch decided to capture a small
gekko, who ran rampant over him.

While initially we had the beach to ourselves, we watched a sailboat approach and appear to consider anchoring, then it left.  A pleasant group of about eight whale-seeking Ozzies on tour also stopped by for lunch and beachcombing.  Their skipper caught a gekko, which to our amusement decided for a while clambering over him was as good and any rock or tree.

Glassy silver, these fish naturally reflect the colors around them.

While the day was warm enough for swimsuits – probably upper 70sF, the sun teased us, dancing in and out of cloud cover.  I was the only one willing to slip into the water, which was cooler than the air.  We’ve snorkeling little this year.  I was more interested in checking Nuku’s sea life out than settling down with a book. It was interesting cruising the underwater landscape… shallows with neatly furrowed “waves” on sand, a sharp ledge drop-off, a few bommies hosting some colorful fish and a broad pastureland of sea grass.

Dramatically marked fish seen snorkeling off Nuku island, Tonga.

A parrot fish of one of several bright blue and green tropical fish
hanging out among the coral off Nuku island, Tonga.

If you’re into snorkeling, there’s far better bommies at nearby Port Maurelle, where I even spotted a sizable octopus (sigh — camera battery was dead — no photo;()!  We never made it to equally nearby Ava island, where the snorkeling there is supposed to be quite good.

These small – about two inch – colorful blue and green fish
commonly appear where there’s live coral and good
water flow in Tonga. Vava’u.

The greens and creams provided perfect camouflage colors
for this fish in the sea grass.  I wonder if the funky
deely-bopper on its head is used to attract its prey.

With nice sand, a great view and easy access, even if the snorkeling is mediocre, it’s easy to understand why Nuku beach is a favorite for local parties, as well as for cruisers.

My Maui Jims add extra vividness and crispness
to this already fantastic tropical paradise view.

Location Location

This post was written in Neiafu, Vava’u TONGA (S18.39.443 W173.58.965) and pre-posted in Uoleva, Ha’apai TONGA (S19.50.863 W174.24.864).  We are cruising Tonga’s Ha’apai group of islands now.
Cruising Progress by the Numbers
As of our start, December 7th 2014, from Jacksonville FL NAS, USA until our current (October 28, 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.
Wifi access will be very limited until we arrive in New Zealand in mid-November. There will be periodic posts running while we’re cruising and lots of catch-up posts.