A Travellerspoint blog

Day 3

Thar she blows!

semi-overcast 24 °C

A few new people arrived here at Heilala early this morning (a bunch more Kiwis & a Portuguese couple), and we were all taken into Nuku'alofa for the "city" orientation. Let's just say, it's not the most salubrious or fascinating town I've been to. There are some parallels with Balinese towns which are dusty & a bit grubby, but without the interesting buildings. I won't be rushing to visit town again, except to get a ferry out to one of the offshore islands one day before I go. The best looking buildings in town are the NZ High Commission & the Immigration NZ building! There's a large indoor market selling crafts as well as fruit & vegetables though, which is pretty interesting. One stallholder was actually having a sleep! They aren't aggressive in trying to sell things to you, but they do give a price as soon as you look at an item and you can haggle apparently. I didn't buy anything at this stage, and will probably support the smaller villages when I check out the rest of the island, as soon as I can get on a tour.

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Nuku'alofa market

The sun did show up while I was in town. Remind me not to complain about a lack of sun - when it came out it had some serious bite to it! I walked around town a little while then caught the bus from the waterfront station.

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Nuku'alofa bus station

You can see from the photos below that Nuku'alofa's waterfront is also nothing to write home about. It's disappointing and a little sad that a place like this, with so much potential to be a true paradise is not able to step up to that level except where the resorts are. I know it's the lack of resources, but it's clear to me that many of the people here just don't have pride in the place.

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Nuku'alofa waterfront

Driving along the roads you see a lot of abandoned, burned out, broken down and shabby houses with abandoned, burned out, broken down and shabby cars in the backyard. Many of the inhabited ones can only be described as hovels. It can't all be about lack of money to fix them - or to put in windows or doors even! That said, many of the gardens are really pretty & despite the lack of pride in a lot of the houses, they clearly love to have nice front yards.

This afternoon, just off our beach we saw humpbacks (the blog subtitle may have been a clue)! We agreed that it was a female & calf, because one was definitely bigger than the other & the males stay away from the mums & babies (a bit like humans LOL). It was SOOO exciting seeing the spray as they breached, then their backs & dorsal fins as they came out of the water. One even showed its tail - too quick for me to get a photo of it but I did get a few shots of their backs coming out and had to be quick to get anything really. The plume of spray was the first sign each time they were about to breach, so I knew kind of where to aim the camera. They were just outside the reef, so fairly close - though in the pics they look pretty far away. I'm sure you won't be overly impressed with the little black shape in the distance but I'm thrilled anyway.

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Yes, that black shape in the distance IS a whale!

Went snorkelling again about 3pm. The sun had disappeared by then & the water wasn't as clear, but I still saw plenty of fish. Apparently there's a small reef shark that shows up here sometimes. A part of me thinks it would be very cool to see it, and another part is a little less keen! I'm told that it doesn't let you get close so maybe I should just keep an eye out in case I can get a selfie with my disposable waterproof camera ?.

We have 3 dogs & numerous chickens living here & wandering freely around the grounds. One chook that has a death wish woke me with its loud clucking just outside my window at 5:54am today. Time for a roast... Anyway, check out this cool dog kennel - it matches our fales!

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Posted by judesbucketlist 01:37 Archived in Tonga Tagged whales pacific humpback tonga tropical_island

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