No, not the Blue Lagoon featured in the movie, but the one in Tonga!
We had spent the previous day sailing about 25 miles to check out a little “fair weather” anchorage off Mananita Island, the furthest south in the Vavau Group. We fished on the way but had no strikes. We saw a few whales but not as many as we expected. One boats was in the anchorage and a 70ft yacht was anchored in the middle of the narrow entrance. It was also exposed to the SW swell and their masts were rolling back and forth. We abandoned the idea of staying and sailed back up to Lisa’s Beach. We had never tried that anchorage but when we got into the bay, jellyfish were everywhere. Monty was really wanting to go for a swim, so we moved on again. We went to the Ark Gallery where took a dip and had a very peaceful night.
The next day, we debated going back to Nieafu Harbour or trying Blue Lagoon. We had been leery of trying this anchorage in the past as the guidebooks made the entrance sound tricky and reported that the swell makes it over the reefs at high tide, making it rolly. It was NOT a place to be in a blow but conditions were calm so it looked like it would be okay, at least for a day anchorage. Monty was very keen to try it out. Our AIS was reporting a 60ft Nordhavn anchored inside so we didn’t know if there would be room for us. I plotted the waypoints from a guide book into our chart plotter and Monty took position on the bow. We got in through the entrance without any drama with never less than 10m depth.
We putted slowly around the lagoon. It was low tide and calm. The bottom looked sandy. We felt we would not be crowding the Nordhavn but they would be losing their solitude. We dropped our hook in about 8m.
We went for a vigorous swim encountering some fairly strong currents. Monty pointed out a cool thing swimming. I snapped a few shots with our GoPro. We looked it up when we got back to the boat and it was a Dorid Nudibranch known as a Spanish Dancer. They can get up to 24 inches long, are good swimmers and feed on sponges.
Later, we saw a couple from the Nordhavn snorkel over to a bommie not very far from our boat. They hung out there for a while, so we were enticed to try another swim. We swam around the bommie, and saw lots of large fish, including a large giant trevally who quickly sped away. They are easily spooked, no doubt because they are regularly hunted by spearfishermen. Around the western side Monty spotted a large Black Blotched Stingray. It was the first time we had seen that variety of stingray. He glided out from under a ledge several times while we floated up above him.
We decided to stay the night. We watched a whale breaching just beyond the western reef and then enjoyed a lovely sunset, green flash and pounding surf from 360 degrees. Monty used the old 70s term, “quadraphonic sound”! It was sensory overload!
For dinner, Monty prepared a variety of dishes with a fillet of our yellowfin tuna catch, including sushi rolls, nigiri, sesame-encrusted seared tuna and tuna poke. Guess, I won’t be firing the skipper from his galley duties just yet.
High tide was around midnight and the swell did indeed make it over the reefs. The waves hit the hindquarter from the southwest while a light northerly breeze kept our bow heading north. It was tough to sleep.
Early the next morning we had low tide again and it was “calm as”! It was tempting to stay.
A charter boat came into the lagoon and anchored to our south west, but she was not there long. Upon feeling the roll at high tide, the charter boat started pulling their anchor. Whistler and the Nordhavn also headed out. As we left the lagoon in single file, we all did some hobby-horsing as swell hit us on the bow.
It was definitely time to leave that scenic anchorage but it was an unforgettable experience!