We visited a number of anchorages while we were in the Ha’apai. Nomuka Iki was a convenient day sail from Nuku’alofa and had a reasonable anchorage in normal trade wind conditions. We didn’t get off the boat to explore, but I hear there is good snorkelling and a whale-swim operator is just across on the larger Nomuka Island.
The next stop, just 20 miles north, was at Ha’afeva. We didn’t stay to explore as we were watching bad weather on its way and wanted to get to Neiafu Harbour. It was a busy time around the anchorage as a ferry boat arrived.
At sunset, we had a nice view of Tofua and Kao Islands, over 20 miles to our west.
The anchorage off Ouleva Island, with its long sandy beach, is one of the best in the island group.
You can walk around the island but it is a work out as you sink down 2 to 3 inches with each step.
Having a tropical drink with Mark and Dianne from Mustang Sally at Sea Change Eco Resort on Uoleva.
We had a few super yachts making some stops in the area.
Another beautiful spot is Uonukuhihifo.
We stopped at Uonukuhihifo three times. We did some shelling and snorkelling each time and enjoyed a beach party with the ICA Rally on one visit. Best in calm conditions as there is not much protection from the low lying islands.
We took our boat around to the anchorage off Haapai Beach Resort, just north of Pangai a few times, to check in with Customs or to be safer when a trough was approaching. You never know how strong the winds might be and being on a lee shore is not our idea of fun. On one occasion, it blew up to 40 knots from the west for several hours. Our boat backed around the anchor with the chain stretched out the entire time.
Here is a picture of our AIS display showing our boat position relative to the anchor as another rather benign trough passed. Fortunately, the winds were light as they switched from north to south.
After the rain and wind subsided, I convinced Monty it was worthwhile dinghying to town around 630am on that Saturday morning. I heard the market was best a 6am on Saturday. Sadly, we may have been a bit late but I doubt it would have made any difference. The market selection was just as dismal as on every other day, but we did pick up a few fruits and some coconut bread.
We watched the locals going about their usual Saturday morning routines. Many were sitting around, listening to American country and western bible tunes blaring from portable speakers. Others were buying fish from the market.
The fish market starting at 6am on Saturday mornings is a busy spot!
It was an interesting, though not very productive, dinghy ride. No need to repeat it.