The Societies are improbably privileged in terms of landscape. They form a combination between the lush, imposing mountains of the Marquises, surrounded by a lagoon like the Tuamotus, which is bordered by a reef on the outside.
Our enthusiasm sparkles in all previous blogs. But occasionally, even in the Pacific, things can go against you and we end up in a place where it is less fun than we thought. To be fair, now also a report of a setback.
On the way from Suwarrow to Tonga it is only a short detour to Niue. Because we like a detour, we decide to take a look at Niue, even though we have never heard of this smallest country in the world. The detour turned out to be a good choice; Niue pleasantly surprises us!
With mixed feelings we leave Niue where we had such a good time. But we have to move on, because the cyclone season is approaching and before this starts we, like all other cruisers, want to reach a safe shelter. For us, that hideaway will be New Zealand, a country chosen by most cruisers to sit out the dangerous summer season. After Niue, Tonga is the most obvious destination before heading to New Zealand. Calling Tonga a "stopover" would do injustice to Tonga: The country has a lot to offer, especially in terms of natural beauty (both under and above water) and of course the now-known Polynesian friendliness.
If only we had more time to discover this large beautiful area longer!
In Tonga Part 1 we took you to the Vava'u group in Tonga; a relatively easy and popular sailing area in Tonga. A little south - about 70 miles sailing - of Vava'u is the Ha'apai group and we are taking you there now.
The crossing to New Zealand was not exactly as easy and easy as our previous crossing. It is a crossing that most sailors prefer to skip, but yes, staying in Tonga is not possible due to the approaching cyclone season ...
How, without realizing it, we started a crossing of 4000 nautical miles after a sudden weather erupted. How we thought we would only sail to the Galapagos, which ultimately turned out very differently. How we were not welcome on the Galapagos but ended up at a big party in a stay that lasted less than 24 hours. How the Banana-Balad came to be. And more.
Cockaigne exists! The Marquises are a group of islands where all your food can be gathered, plucked or easily caught, where you don't get a chance to spend your money because no one wants to take money, where the people are friendly, generous and artistic, and sing, dancing and partying are of paramount importance.
Good weather all year round, happy and hospitable people, no road trash, dramatically beautiful mountains with lush vegetation. You pick your food from a tree or from the water. Dance, sing. Paradise exists!
Tuamotu is also called the dangerous archipelago and for good reason. Rock hard, stony and sharp coral that unexpectedly rises steeply and erratically from the bottom of the sea and as if that wasn't spicy enough, a sauce with spicy and unpredictable currents is added to it. But to be fair, since the days of GPS, the skipper's life has been a lot less uncertain in this archipelago (because at least you know where you are, even when it is completely cloudy and dark!) And all in all, the risk is acceptable and the attraction great ... Because Tuamotu is also: crystal clear water, large lagoons where you can anchor. Coral rich, fish rich, shark rich, coconuts on uninhabited islands (motu), remote, unspoiled, palm trees with white beaches.