Located in the Ha’apai Group of Islands in Tonga, Ha’afeva is a nice, quiet place to stop. You can be as isolated or as busy as you’d like. We met up with some friends on SV Manna as we anchored in this beautiful spot. They had already been ashore and were planning to go again to meet Lotu, one of the island’s residents. Lotu brought us coconuts and other island treats and even took us to his home to meet his family. (To read more about that adventure Click Here!)
According to the 2016 Tongan census the island is home to 297 residents and while it may be hard to believe, many of them have never left the tiny island in their entire lives.
When I say tiny, let me be clear…it is just 2.21 km (1.57 m) long and 1.37 km (just under 1 m) wide at its widest point.
So, why stop here? Well, it’s fairly well protected with stunningly clear water, great snorkeling and fishing. And, if you want to get to know the locals they have been called some of the friendliest Tongans in all the islands.
While we chose to spend the following day just hanging out on Dazzler and taking a dinghy ride, our friends, Curtis and Julie of SV Manna, chose a different experience. They went to church the following morning and ended up spending time with many from the community who fed and entertained them the entire day. So as you can see there are plenty of reasons to stop at this special place.
The Boys of Ha’afeva
There’s something else interesting about Ha’afeva. In 1965 six teenage boys from this island stole a small boat and took to sea on a bit of a joyride. Unfortunately they ended up 50 km south of where they started on the deserted island of ‘Ata.
‘Ata isn’t a very friendly place either. There’s virtually no beach, just rocks. It’s got it’s own jungle of sorts but it a steep climb to reach the top of the volcanic rock that makes up most of the island.
We passed by ‘Ata on our way north to Tonga in 2019. It certainly doesn’t look like a very friendly place to be shipwrecked. Knowing that these six young men spent fifteen months on the island before being rescued says a lot about their sheer will and determination to live. To learn more about their story you can click on the link above to see a short video about it.
No matter what you want to do here you’re sure to find this little place quite sensational.