11 October 2008 | Tonga
We woke up this morning anchored in paradise. Don't get me wrong, we loved Niue and Palmerston, but when you go to sleep and dream of where you want to be anchored, this is it. The hook is in 20 feet of sand. We have 150 feet of chain out (we count 5 feet of freeboard so that gives us a solid sleeping 6:1). There is a beautiful sandy beach right in front of us and a lush tropical jungle covered limestone island attached to it. The ocean is obstructed on all sides by reefs and islands and the largest fetch you could have would generate little more than a medium chop. There are coral heads in the shallows to snorkel on with lots of fish about. The sky is blue and a nice breeze is blowing through the boat.
The little island of Nuku was deserted when we snorkeled over this morning. We left our snorkel gear on the beach and walked over to the island. There is a little house on the island but it looked sort of deserted. There were the remnants of a public laundry and restrooms in the jungle also. We didn't want to disturb the household if it was occupied so we hiked through the jungle to try to get a view from the top of the island. The foliage was so dense that not only was it hard to get to the top, once there we couldn't see a thing. The greenery grows all the way to the edge of the island and down to the water creating a comprehensive canopy.
After another refreshing swim back to the boat Dave from O'Vive stopped by. He and the crew from Malaki (sp?), a Canadian boat they have been sailing with, were planning a dive on A'a in the afternoon. Hideko went for a hot shower but I can never turn down a Scuba Dive in a new location. It was a fun and easy dive just on the west side of A'a, an adjacent island. We took two dinghies over and tied up to some dead coral over the 5 foot reefy apron around the island. The reef drops off to about 80 feet to a sand bottom that slopes off steeply. The visibility was about 60 feet and there was a good bit of coral and fish life in the interesting wall formations.
Back at the big boat the weather had closed in a little. So far, our experience in Tonga has been frequent showers of short duration and overcast, but with enough blue sky to enjoy the sights in between. We settled in for a nice evening enjoying the alternating amazing view and gentle rain.