The resort’s on the west coast, where a reef protects the shore, and when the conditions are right, apparently the surfing’s good just beyond the reef.
The sands are deep and white, the temperatures were moderately warm (around 24°C during the day and 17°C at night) and the resort was very friendly, simple, and small.
We did a lot of reading. The resort has a small library of paperbacks, but most people were reading from iPads or Kindles.
Clear clear water
I prefer to look at water, or enjoy being on it in a boat rather than being in it, but others snorkelled around close to shore with some pleasure.
I did venture out into the lagoon on one of the resort’s sea kayaks one day for half an hour, and that was fun.
The sea in Tonga is amazingly clear. Almost wherever we went you could look deep into the sea and the water was utterly transparent. The photo below has been cropped and optimised for use on a web page, but not edited in any way. This is an intriguing sea plant attached to a rock underwater in the lagoon.
It’s as though the water just wasn’t there. While the sea around Wellington is often clear, I’ve never seen it so utterly transparent. What a delight!
One day we took a tour of the island in a taxi van driven by Vei, who lives in a village near the resort. There were 4 of us on the tour, which included various sights such as Captain Cook’s Landing Place, the Trilith, a natural arch, an underground cave with a wonderful pool for swimming in, and also the Houma Blowholes on the South coast.
As waves meet the rock all along the coast water funnels up through cracks and boils out the top. I loved the shapes of the rockpools, again with clear clear water lying in them, and the water blowing through put me in mind of Punakaiki on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. It was spectacular, even though the sea was fairly quiet that day.
One day I’ll remember to hold the camera straight as I record video…
The whale tour
Another day we set off at 8.15 am for town, Nuku’alofa, again in Vei’s taxi van. It’s a journey of around 45 minutes, but we needed to catch the whale watching boat at 9 am.
In June, July and August humpback whales gather around the coast of Tonga for mating and calving. We came very close to quite a few whales and their calves, and even heard one whale singing.
The photo above was taken with my Canon EOS 400D and the 18–55 mm zoom lens at 35 mm. The calf is more clearly visible in the larger version of the image.
I think I’d better save my account of that trip for a separate post, but in brief: what a great day!
Oh, and we spotted a few slightly more distant whales right from the beach at the resort.