Niuatoputapu Photos

Our first landfall in Tonga was at the island of Niuatoputapu which belongs to the northernmost group of Tongan islands. The island is very small and rural supporting a number of tiny villages along the single dirt road. We didn’t have long to explore before heading for Vava’u so our pictures are limited.

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First stop in Niuatoputapu was the only bank on the island in order to exchange some drab U.S. money for the beautiful Tongan currency. The visit gave new meaning to the term “small branch”.

Sep'09 - The financial district - click to enlarge Sep '09 - Beautiful Tongan currency - click to enlarge

Traffic is pretty minimal on the island. On our long walk to the bank with the crew of “Whisper“, we shared the road with some of the local livestock.

Sep '09 - Swine crossing - click to enlarge Sep '09 - The long hot walk to the bank with "Whisper" - click to enlarge Sep '09 - Local livestock - click to enlarge

Speaking of pigs, we attended our first beach pig roast. Wayne had a taste of pig brain and we all had the ‘opportunity’ to sample some kava.

Sep '09 - Beach pig roast - click to enlarge Sep '09 - Beach pig roast - click to enlarge

Sep '09 - A horse grazing in the graveyard - click to enlarge Sep '09 - A roof in need - click to enlarge Sep '09 - Wayne and a monster shade tree - click to enlarge

Smiles are free here but having bubble gum to give away earns you some extra special ones. On the right Wayne is about to enjoy a rather crispy fish offering that we found on deck during our passage.

Sep '09 - Bubble gum smiles - click to enlarge Sep '09 - Passage breakfast! - click to enlarge

Sadly, less than two weeks after we left Niuatoputapu, the devastating 8.0 earthquake and resulting tsunami struck the island. This island was the closest to the quake. Ten people died here not to mention the terrible damage to homes and villages.