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…