We finally managed to leave Rarotonga a few days late and had a very very slow passage to Niue. We crossed the South Pacific Convergence Zone which meant little wind unless we were chasing squalls and riding the edges. It went well all in all with a little too much motoring and some of the strangest cloud formations I have seen yet. We didn’t bother fishing either after all the mahi on the way to Rarotonga.

As we approached Niue we could see massive blow holes in the distance. The island was flat compared to what we have been seeing as it is just an enormous block of limestone on top of a sunken volcano. The locals claimed it to be the largest coral island in the world. When we came into the anchorage the water was so clear we could see bottom definition at 200 feet and when we finally got our mooring we were in 50-75 feet of water and it looked like we were in about 10. The water was amazing. We put the dinghy in the water and made our way to meet the customs officer and when we arrived there is a small crane that you must use to pull your dinghy out. Clearing in was easy and everyone real friendly and the moorings provided by the local Niue Yacht Club.

The time on the island was great and the snorkeling and hiking awesome. The water was so clear it was easy to just keep going down and I eventually dove too deep and gave myself an enormous nose bleed, it filled up the mask a bit so I had to exit the water. The other great thing is that there are sea snakes (extremely poisonous) everywhere. We rented a van and along with the guys from Obelisk and Baten Anna we were joined by Rob and Kate from Toyatte . Every few miles there was a trail that went to the sea and at the end we found caves and caverns, crevices and arches, and pools and great snorkeling everywhere. The crevices where pretty amazing and some you swam in and others you walk through. I can’t even say which stop was the best but you can see the beauty in the pictures. One thing I have to note though was that at the end of the crevice that used to be the royal baths was a large rock that I climbed over. Kate followed me and just out a bit was a small blow hole, we watched it for awhile and decided I had to go see it up close, but there was a large swell running so it was a challenge to get out there. By the time I got there everyone else caught up to the rock and I sat there getting ocean blow all over me and the sound was like a jet taking off. A few minutes later everyone else was out there and sitting on it and such. The power of it was incredible even though it was such a small hole.

The fresh-water in Niue is also some of the best water in the world thanks to the limestone, so fresh and sweet. I wish I had extra water tanks for it. We had too many boat bar-b-ques too as we are ahead of most of the cruisers at this point so the others in the anchorage are usually younger. This is good as we are no longer required to hang out with a bunch of old guys and their fathers. The other thing we get to hang out with are whales. Humpbacks are here breeding at the moment and we can hear their songs but we never got to see any in the anchorage, however, Knotty Lady on the mooring next us had a little run in with one the day we left, check out their blog here, Knotty lady , please make the jump as this is just incredible.

The anchorage started to get crowded and quickly became unapproved so we left. It was a slow slow sail to Tonga and I only had a little diesel so no motoring. We made 220 miles in three nights and two days, by far the slowest transit yet, but there was not much swell so it was easy, just long. We did catch one mahi (maybe 12 pounds) and I was going to throw her back but she shook so hard in the net that she just eviscerated herself, so we had to eat her since the was going to die anyway. Interestingly we passed over the Tonga Trench, a subduction zone that is the second deepest point in the ocean and the exact place we passed over turned out to be the final resting place of the Apollo 13 radio-thermal power plant, which I found oddly relevant.

On our arrival in the Vavua group in Tonga we were escorted in by whales. I expected the islands to be very mountainous but they are quite flat and the volcanoes are in the south. I am not sure if we will head down that way or not. Arriving here was very relaxed and the town is a little poorer than elsewhere but they have quite a nice market and sweet little old ladies that sell the goods. They are so cute that they are quite hard to say no to, so I have bought a few to many tourist items. In any case, we will most likely move today and enjoy some of the anchorages here. I am really looking forward to what comes next.