Niue Island Tour
06 October 2008 | Niue
We were planning on leaving tomorrow but the weather in these parts has just not been so great. It has been overcast every day for the last week and the activity between here and Tonga has been disturbed. No wind, squalls, or fronts seems to be all we get. That said it is lovely in Niue and although it sprinkles now and again, there are no crazy rain storms and it is cooler than it would be otherwise.
We also didn't get around to clearing out today and we want to leave early on the day we go so that we'll get in late the following day. If we don't take off first thing we run the risk of having to slow down and double overnight it. No great problem just less time enjoying the islands. So it looks like we'll be taking off the day after tomorrow.
We used our time today to make one last jerry jug diesel run in the morning and pick up our propane tanks. The Niue propane shop had no problem filling out tanks so we are set for a good 4 months plus. We also have plenty of diesel to motor to Fiji and beyond should the need arise. We have been running the genset a lot though to keep the dive compressor in business.
After the morning chores we hit the Uga Café for lunch. They make a very tasty steak Panini and have good coffee. Next stop was the yacht club to say hi to the yachties limin' there. Our final stop was Alofi Rental to pick up a motor bike for our island circumnavigation. The 125cc Suzi was only $25 a day and had plenty of guts to get up the very steep hills leading back from the beaches with Hideko and I aboard.
Our tour of the island was fantastic. Niue is an amazing place. Most tropical islands have one stunning grotto to check out. Niue is replete with them. Every place you hike down to from the limestone perimeter is a picturesque lagoon with crystal clear rock pools, stone arches, caves and lush greenery climbing over the lot of it.
The reef right below the Uga café is lovely if you want a spot close to the quay. We stopped by the Niue Dive center, which is right next to Matavai resort, the only resort on the island. The dive center folks are great and super friendly about letting yachts use their dive moorings (for diving) if you check with them first to make sure they won't be using them. We bought a nice Dive Niue shirt and headed on around the island.
There's a nice little boat ramp in Avatele in the southwest corner of Niue. These little ramps are all around the island if you know where to look. They all drop into a pool of protected water and then typically feed out through a rather hairy and shallow pass to sea.
Crossing the south end of the island you come to the Noni farm. Noni is a nasty tasting fruit that is rumored to produce a revitalizing nectar. A tablespoon a day is suggested, which is good because you probably couldn't choke much more down.
The ride through the southeast part of the island is through the shadows of the rain forest and national park. It is an enchanting place to pass through. The tourism map shows several paths to the ocean here, some of which are highly recommended. Hideko and I only stopped when we saw signs though because we were trying to get all the way around in an afternoon. I suppose you could do the circuit in a couple of hours is you just drove fast but if you stop often you will need a day to do it right. We were hustling and trying to pick the best spots to visit.
In Liku on the east coast we found a wonderful path leading to a cave where two local kayaks were carefully stored. Down below was a complement of crashing surf with a small apron of protective reef. A thin strip of the reef made an artificial ramp where we assumed the owners of the boats would launch in calmer conditions (3 meter seas today). As we looked around here we sighted a group of Humpback whales just off shore. We were mesmerized watching the huge creates from our perch up in the cliffs.
After a number of other interesting stops we made our way across the north coast. Here you find the highest point on Niue. I don't know how high it is but it can't be much more than 300 feet. There is a motel and a group of lovely cabin rentals in the area. The northwest part of the island has perhaps some of the most spectacular stops. The arches, the chasm and the Limu Pools are all must see spots. It would be a great idea to bring swimsuits and snorkeling gear and spend the day between the three.
It is funny, but when there are ten boats in an anchorage, it is hard not to run across just about all of them when you are bopping around a small island. We ran across the Ino crew at the arches just as a nice little batch of rain started up. We wanted to give them a ride back to the quay but our circus skills were not up to par and more than two on that bike would have required such. They ended up getting a lift from some friendly locals.
After dropping off the bike we set about lowering the dink back into the water. Some friendly Ozys helped us and we were off in no time. The Ino crew was back at the quay at this point so we dropped them off and stopped by Godspede to see how they were doing with their cutlass bearing repair. They had it whipped into jury rig shape, said thanks for asking, and handed us some freshly seared tuna. Jeff is a chef and it was ridiculously good. If this isn't good incentive to check in on your neighbors I don't know what is!