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.

Sunset from Nomuka Iki.

Nomuka Iki had a prison years on it years ago. We did not go ashore as it was just an overnight stop on our way north. A pig was digging trenches in the sand looking for crabs at dawn.

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.

The wharf at Ha’afeva

The ferry with local boats picking up and dropping off people and supplies.

Rush hour traffic to/from the ferry.

Mustang Sally, an Australian boat, was watching the ferry activity from their cockpit.

At sunset, we had a nice view of Tofua and Kao Islands, over 20 miles to our west.

View of Kao Island from Ha’afeva

The anchorage off Ouleva Island, with its long sandy beach, is one of the best in the island group.

One of the busier times, with boats from the Island Cruising Association Rally

You can walk around the island but it is a work out as you sink down 2 to 3 inches with each step.

The lagoon side of Uoleva. The zigzag track of a pig foraging for crabs can be seen in the sand. Kite-boarder on the right.

Holes dug by crabs. They scurried away as they heard our footsteps.

The spit at the northern end of Uoleva, where the kite-boarding happens.

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.

The supe-yacht looked tiny next to this motor-yacht.

Sunset at Uoleva Island

Another beautiful spot is Uonukuhihifo.

Whistler anchored with Tika at Uonukuhihifo (right) and Uonukuhahaki Island (left).

Uonukuhihifo from our boat

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.

Our wind speed at anchor in a westerly blow.

Our track around the anchor as the winds backed.

Monty jumping in to check that our anchor was not dragging. My plants got drenched!

Collecting rain water in every available vessel.

Our friends on Citrus Tart in the storm.

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.

The track our boat made as another trough passed through the Ha’apai.

Clearing skies after the trough moved through.

Looking at the anchorage from the Haapai Beach Resort.

Lounging at the Haapai Beach Resort

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.

Fresh produce from the Pangai Market

Boats that had taken cover from the storm, anchoring inside little Pangai Harbour.

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!

Pangai Fish Market, held at 6am on Saturdays.

It was an interesting, though not very productive, dinghy ride. No need to repeat it.