Kingdom of Tonga
Carina, with Gnomad aboard, arrived in early November at the port of Neiafu, in the Vava'u group of islands within the Kingdom of Tonga. Tonga is the last remaining monarchy within the Pacific. The current king (or Tu'i Tonga) is George the V and his coronation was only one year ago. The first king was said to have been born in 950 AD and had Tangaloa (the sun god) as his father, and Ilaheva (a young mortal girl) as his mother.
The Tongan people are Polynesian, descending from the Lapita people who arrived in these islands over 3000 years ago from Asia. The two young beauties posing with Gnomad are Elena and Jane. They are cousins and were playing at the small marina in Neiafu which offers haven to the tiny local boats used to travel to town from the outlying inhabited islands of the group. When we approached our dinghy they were chatting away in Tongan but quickly switched to perfect English to speak with us. Tongan is spoken at home while English is the language used in schools.
The nation consists of 170 islands in four groups of islands; Niuas in the far north, and Vava'u, Ha'apai, Tongatapu you move south. The Vava'u group, with the principal island of Vava'u sits at: 18º 40' S /173º 59' W. This is where we are moored within its wonderful harbor for the cyclone season which runs from November to April. The waters around the islands are deep, hundreds of feet, but clear, brilliantly colored and dotted with coral reefs alive with sea life.
Tonga has little industry besides tourism - diving, whale watching, yachts, sport fishing - but agriculture is also important to their economy. Pumpkin pie squash is an important export product, though vanilla and coffee are growing in importance.
Your friends of the yacht Carina,
Port of Refuge - Neiafu, Vava'u, Tonga