If you’ve picked up one of the great Vava’u maps at Tropicana Cafe in Neiafu you’ll see this anchorage listed at #7 on the map. Port Maurelle is just a short cruise, four miles as the crow flies, from Neiafu and is a nice starting point as you work your way around the area. The atmosphere here is completely different that being in Neiafu. It feels very remote and quite serene.
Port Maurelle is also one of the most protected anchorages in the area so it makes a great spot in most all weather. It can get a little bumpy if the wind is coming from the west but even through a few storms we found it to be very nice.
One thing to note here is that this anchorage is listed on the charts as an approved anchorage for the charter boats so it can get rather crowded on the weekends.
18° 41′ 58” S 174° 1′ 52” W
These are the coordinates for the anchorage of Port Maurelle. The map below shows you where the anchorage is located and the route to take from Neiafu. As you look at the map below notice the “Island” marked on the southern side of the route after you come around the point of Kapa Island. This is a small island and there is plenty of room to go between it and Kapa Island. Just don’t get too close to Kapa as the bommies do come out a bit from the shore.
Also note A’a Island. There is a great little place to dinghy to and hang out for a few hours. It’s really pretty and the beach is nice there. We did see a small sailboat anchored behind A’a between it and Kapa but we never stayed there. It would have to be really calm as it’s not very well protected.
There are several mooring balls here and you are free to take one without notifying anyone ahead of time. It’s a first come first served type of thing. There is a charge to moor or to anchor. It’s $20 TOP to moor and $15 TOP to anchor. It’s a per visit fee not a per night fee. If you take off for an afternoon sail that’s considered leaving and you’d be charged again when you return. A man will come by in a small boat in the late afternoon to collect. He will show you a badge to prove he is legitimate. He works for the government and since this is a Special Management Area you will have to pay to stay.
The moorings are very solid with close to 1″ chain hooked to a concrete block that we estimated to be around 800-1000 pounds. If you choose to anchor you’ll be fine as well. The bottom here in the middle of the anchorage is good sand with excellent holding. We anchored there twice and never had a problem even in the midst of a storm.
Things To Do & See
A nice walk on the beach here at Port Maurelle is always a great way to waste away a few hours. Jilly found some beautiful shells here too. Just be sure you don’t take any conch, clam shells or coral. It’s illegal to take these from the beaches of Tonga.
At sunset, in addition to the amazing colors in the sky, you can watch as flying foxes go from tree to tree on shore. They are literally everywhere!!!
The water at this anchorage is almost always crystal clear which makes for some fun kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming and snorkeling. The edge of the southern wall and edge of the anchorage has some nice coral and the fish are plentiful here. This is a Special Management Area so you can’t fish in the anchorage which means you’ll see many more beautiful fish than in some places.
Swallows Cave. 18°41’0” S 174°2’48” W. It’s just a short mile and a half dinghy ride back to the northern tip of the island to reach the caves. Divers and snorkelers come from near and far to check this out. The cave is large enough to drive your dinghy into it but you’ll have to wait for a time where there aren’t tons of divers and snorkelers around. The cave opening faces the west and in the late afternoon they say you get some of the most beautiful light through the hole at the top of the cave. Unfortunately while we arrived at the right time the cloud cover came over and we missed it.
The water is very deep here and there’s no place to beach your dinghy so either you need to leave someone in the dinghy try to drift inside the cave and tie up to one of the outcroppings. Inside the cave it’s about sixty feet deep. We did not snorkel the cave since there were only two of us and too many people around to tie the dinghy up inside. It’s a pretty beautiful place though and we’re certain if you love caves you’re going to really love this one.