Eastern Vava’u…So Beautiful

After leaving the Tapana area we headed further east. We tried to stop at a couple of anchorages listed on the Vava’u island map but they all seemed to have a steep slope from the beach which isn’t a really good choice for anchoring. After checking out ‘Olo’ua, the northern most anchorage we finally decided to move back south and anchor between Ofu and Mafana. It’s a beautiful anchorage and much bigger than the last one we stayed at near Tapana. To the east you can see Lolo, Kenutu and Umuna Islands. These islands are on the eastern edge of the island group and are surrounded by reefs. The South Pacific waves crash onto Lolo with such force that over a mile and half away we can see the foam burst up above the island. That means they are going some 20-30 feet in the air….maybe more. We won’t know for sure until we go there but we’ve been using a boat that’s anchored there to help us judge the height. As the tide came in we saw them not only crash and rise above the island but actually come over top of it and land in the lagoon. Mother Nature is truly spectacular!

We dropped the anchor in about 13’ of beautiful, clear, green water. There’s a reef nearby on Mafana Island to our north but we feel good here as the anchor is set well in a sandy bottom with few rocks or coral. To our south is the island of Ofu. It has a pretty little village on the shore. It might be the cleanest and nicest village we’ve seen here in Tonga. Should probably go ashore and check it out tomorrow.

Not long after we anchored SV Sea Casa showed up. We met Connor in México. He’s a young, handsome guy who always seems to have a different gal on board. Don’t know if they are just crew or girlfriends but there’s never a short supply. We put the motor on the dink to take a spin around the island and made a quick stop to say hello to our new neighbors. After that it was time to explore the area.

We took the dink all around Mafana Island. It’s a pretty little place with a few homes but there are only a couple of places to land. On the north side are some really pretty areas of volcanic rock. There’s even a small cave. As we tooled by we apparently disturbed some of the local wildlife. Suddenly a host of birds burst out from the trees and came flying overhead. Seconds later we saw about fifteen or twenty flying foxes come swarming out from the treetops. I just love watching the flying foxes. They are really amazing and pretty big too.

The surf on the north side of the island was choppy and gave us a bit of a wet ride as we cruised along checking out the place. On the east side of the island is a smaller, unnamed island that had a bit of beach so we decided to check it out. I’m always looking for cool shells. This island was surrounded by it’s own little reef so it got shallow pretty quick. I didn’t have my good beach shoes with me so Dan got out and towed the dink through the shallow waters. He didn’t want me out there for fear I’d step on a Stonefish. That’s my guy, always looking out for me. 

There wasn’t much to see on this island or the tiny speck of an island that was next to it so we headed back to Dazzler. On the way we cruised close to the southern shore of Mafana Island. The reef is not very healthy but we did come across a patch of sand that has hundreds of black starfish about 6” in diameter. Not sure if they are breeding or if it’s a feeding ground but they are everywhere. It’s the most marine life we saw today.

Back on Dazzler we spent the afternoon in the cockpit watching the surf beat up on Lolo Island in the distance. It was so loud out there you could actually hear it well over a mile away. I could just sit and watch this forever. 

A couple of hours before sunset we watched Connor and Laura swim from their boat toward the shore of a tiny island that lies in between Mafana and Ofu. They are having issues with their dingy motor. It was a pretty good swim going completely against the current. Of course Dan was watching the entire time to be sure they didn’t get swept in the wrong direction or get into trouble. As the sun was dipping lower in the sky we saw them on the beach preparing to swim back. We just couldn’t imagine them swimming that distance again so we hopped in the dink and picked them up. They were very grateful for the ride. Once again our Captain Save-A-Hoe helps his fellow man. Our rescue complete, we headed home to enjoy a wonderful evening on the hook. 

The sun dropped low behind the islands while we sat in the cockpit of Dazzler. Dan grilled a wonderful steak dinner for us under the clear evening sky. We could see billions of stars twinkling overhead and the Milky Way was as bright as ever. It’s always so magical to sit on the hook on a clear evening away from the light pollution of larger cities. These are the nights that most people dream about and here we are living this dream. We are blessed to have spent another wonderful day aboard our beloved Dazzler.

Until next time,

Jilly & Dan

Author: Dan & Jilly

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