Vavau Tonga

We have now enjoyed a week at the anchorage in Vavau. We are secured to a mooring supplied by the Moorings charter company along with about 40 cruising boats, this is a meca for cruisers. The town is large enough for most supplies and the restaurants are great– we love the Tonga dollar, called the tap, it is about double the US dollar yet prices are about the same so we get half off most things!!! Such a relief after French Polynesia and Niue. A can of Coke has varied from $2.40 to $.50.

The Tongan people are amazing, first they are big! the average 12 year old is my size both height and girth. At first they seem stand offish yet in a few short days we have found them friendly and warm– not in the zap we are here styel of the Cook Islanders but yet very friendly.

Whale watching and swimming with the whales are the big tourist draw here and as in anywhere where passions run high there are controversies here. As we arrived we became aware of a brewhaha between the whale watch operators and the “yachties” hopefully it will all be resolved. I booked out time with the whales for this coming Saturday, a once in a life time opportunity to be in the water with a humpback whale.

I had my first Cava drink last night with the band playing at the Giggling Whale restaurant. This is a ceremonial non alcoholic drink made from the cava root. It is used in many greeting ceremonies and is taken very seriously so one cannot turn it down when offered. It did not taste as bad as i had heard but still yuk! made my mouth sort of numb and had about the same effect at a triple latte.

The weekly show includes young dancers from a local village. Tonga has very strict rules about dress and behavior that seem to conflict with their customs but it all works out,

One of the interesting parts of the culture of all of Polynesia is the presence of cross gender males, in the Marquesas Islands it is common for a large family to pick one boy and raise him as a girl, later he/she will become a waitress or service employee. In Tahiti there was a large population of cross dressers –see my notes on going t othe wrong “port office” and in Tonga, land of strict religious rule we found the hot spot in town was a drag show!

so a typical night on the town in Vavau, great dinner, young girls seductively dancing, cava with the band and a drag show, all in a town that will fine you for not “covering up” properly or for doing almost anything on Sunday.

We leave the town today to go to the outer anchorages for a few days, it is much like home, many small islands and anchorages within miles of each other–kinda like the Broughton Islands with palm trees and warm..