Niue

Niue: the smallest state in the world, but the largest block of coral! It’s very different from every other island we stopped at in the Pacific. This flat plateau rises up from the sea and its highest point is 69 metres only. The main attractions are the amazing limestone caves, hewn by thousands of years of wave action.

The population is just over 1,000. It used to be more but due to cyclone and tsunami risk many people have moved away. As a result there are many derelict abandoned houses all over the island. There is some tourism helped by a direct three-hour flight to New Zealand (note the THREE hours and that we will be at sea for at least 12 days to get to New Zealand…).

The anchorage is in front of the village of Alofi, the capital. Because of the strong swell and the absence of any beaches, dinghies need to be lifted onto the wharf with a big crane and left on the dock. It certainly adds some fun to going ashore.

The island has a friendly laid-back atmosphere and our taste buds are indulged with fantastic Japanese food, New York style pizzas and freshly cooked Indian curries. Seathan also manages to catch up on the latest rugby scores and even gets a game of golf in.

Together with Bruce and Di from Toucan we rent a 7-seater for a couple of days and go round the island (64 km). There is plenty to do: exploring caves and chasms, forest walks, snorkelling in freshwater pools and a game of crazy mini-golf on a scenic hilltop with amazing views over the anchorage.

In the evenings humpback whales swim around the boat and we can hear them sing. They come here to calve between July and September and we’re lucky to still see them, as they will soon depart.

We set sail this afternoon for the kingdom of Tonga. The weather gribs look good and it should takes us no more than two days. Interesting point: we will be crossing the International Date Line before reaching Tonga and therefore skip a whole day of our lives…

 

rehua anchored in Niue

  

ready to lift the dinghy

  

dinghy parking

  

Limu pools

  

quick dip in freshwater

  

Matapa chasm

 

cave explorers

 

Avaiki cave

  

great snakes!

   

hike to Togo chasm

 

Togo chasm

 

minigolf with a view

 

exhausting day!

 
 

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Passage from Palmerston to Niue

Magellan has a lot to answer for! So far this vast ocean has not been true to its name apart from a few days where we enjoyed a flat sea. Our passage from Palmerston took 62 hours and was a real mix of weather: wind coming from various directions, changing wave patterns and even some rain. We knew the crossing would be rather windy so before taking off the kids and I took a seasick prevention tablet (for the first time ever on our trip). It worked wonders and nobody felt even the least bit queasy. It did knock us out though and I felt very sleepy on my first night time watch. Somehow I struggled through the night and it was such a relief not to feel any seasickness. Yesterday the weather calmed down and we enjoyed a quiet day at last and even cooked roasted chicken for dinner (on the BBQ) and the kids watched a movie before bedtime. But soon enough everything changed again and we had to put in two reefs. The wind kept building and there was an uncomfortable steep wave on our beam. It was too cloudy to sight land until we were only a few miles off and somehow this rather flat island wrapped in a cloudy mist reminded us of Scotland. It started raining as we tied onto a mooring. Toucan, who arrived here last week, welcomed us and brought a few cold beers over. Now the clouds are shifting and the sun is coming out and we ready to head ashore to clear in and find somewhere nice for lunch!