Paradise Found Vava'u Tonga!

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					  Paradise Found:
                                                                                                         transport and someone to
                                                                                                         know where to go in what
                                                                                                         conditions. In short you’ll
                                                                                                         need Matt. He will take you
                                                                                                         either by boat or by car

  Vava’u Tonga!
                                                                                                         to the best spots for the
                                                                                                         day. We have spent days
                                                                                                         on end roughing it on off
                                                                                                         road 4 WD tracks around
                                                                                                         plantations finding ac-
                                                                                                         cess to the water. A lot of
                                                                                                         Tonga’s coast line is sheer
                                                Words and photos by Frans and Sylvia                     cliffs, and finding beaches
                                                                                                         facing different wind direc-
                                                                                                         tions calls for time-con-
 It’s hurricane season in Tonga and the normal-        nuts. Given that during the trade wind sea-       suming expeditions. If not
 ly hot sunny weather has gone wet, grey and           son the wind never stopped blowing for the        by road or 4wd track, he’ll
 windy. A blustery westerly wind has been blow-        3 months that we were here, that shall prob-      take you in his inflatable
 ing for over a week now, the result of a station-     ably not last much longer. With many lush         to outer islands like Ke-
 ary tropical low west of Fiji. With rain and steel    tropical islands and white soft beaches, surf,    nutu, Mounu, or Taunga.
 grey skies it looks more like Western Europe than     sunshine, warm clear water, great tidal flats,
 a tropical paradise, except for the humid heat.       and circular soft-sand islands appearing like     Another possibility for vis-
                                                       magic at low tide, Tonga is a kiter’s paradise.   iting kiters is to stay at                            long kiting feast will be staying at Mounu
 We are packed up in Matt’s beat up red se-                                                              Mounu Island Resort, where Kirsty, the only oth-      and on rented Moorings yachts in October.
 dan, sweating under a mountain of kites and Matt (Owner of Tonga Bob’s Cantina in Neiafu,               er resident kiter in Vava’u, will look after you.
 boards, looking for spots to launch in a west- Vava’u) has just started the first official kite surf-   Blessed with a soft white sandy beach                 Another great spot is Kenutu, where at low
 erly. Spots none of which have ever been kit- ing centre in Tonga. To kite in Tonga you’ll need         right    round    this   tiny     ‘bounty    style’   tide during 6 or 7 hours a soft round sand is-
 ed before, we know that for sure, since we                                                              island, at Mounu you will kite whenever the           land appears, surrounded by shallow water and
 are the only kiters here. At Ano beach, a small                                                                                   wind blows, no matter       fronted by the best, biggest and most consis-
 village along a nice sandy beach, a westerly                                                                                      what direction. A knee      tent surfing spot in Vava’u. Southeast winds
 swell is breaking into shoulder high surf. “Look                                                                                  to shoulder deep (de-       blow side shore (about 80 % of the time) along
 at that!”, says Matt. “It must be huge out-                                                                                       pending on the tide)        a gentle sloping 4.5-mile long reef, where big
 side for waves to break all the way in here!”                                                                                     lagoon stretches out        peaks break in perfect A-frames for some se-
                                                                                                                                   at the east, south and      rious wave riding. More on the inside towards
 As we get out of the car and frantically start                                                                                    west side of Mounu,         Kenutu, the reef shallows and the waves are
 pumping up kites we are surrounded by hordes                                                                                      bordered by reefs at        more hard and hollow. The problem is that
 of local kids. They all want to help and grab lines                                                                               the south side which        there’s nobody ever out there! No one to ride
 and kites. I decide I have to learn to say in Ton-                                                                                can have epic waves.        those beauties and no one to go out with. And
 gan; ‘stand back please, dangerous!’ The adults                                                                                   Kirsty is about the most    it’s scary to be all the way out there all alone.
 hang back a bit watching what these ‘Palangis’                                                                                    stoked person you will
 (Tongan for foreigner) are up to now. When the                                                                                    ever meet, and totally    We spent weeks on end here on anchor surfing
 first kite gets launched the children start yooping                                                                               dedicated to kiting.      and kiting. Never during that time did any other
 and jumping up and down. When I take off on                                                                                       She’s doing back loops    people come to join us, except ‘Moses’, a local
 the board I can hear them screaming behind me.                                                                                    and handle passes af-     spearfisherman who took me on a ‘tour de con-
                                                                                                                                   ter only 6 months!        naissance’ along his favourite holes in the reef.
 The waves are soft and crumbly but fun. The wind                                                                                                            “Here check out this hole”, he said. “There’s always
 soon lets us down and we hope the next squall                                                                                     Speaking of champs, a big lobster in there!” I thought he was pulling
 will arrive soon with more wind. We drive around                                                                                  Cindy Mosey was here my leg, but there it was in the hole, a big lobster
 some more looking for more windy spots, but                                                                                       scooping out spots soon on the tip of my spear. “Tomorrow there will
 the wind drops even more and we call it a day.                                                                                    for the next all fe- be another one there, always big ones!” Moses
                                                                                                                                   male kiting clinic. Thir- said. And so we had our own fresh lobster supply.
  Kiting in Tonga is a completely new phenom-                                                                                      ty of the top women
  enon and every time you launch the locals go                                                                                     kiters on a 2-week Following the eastern reef towards the south,
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                                                                          You can go whale watching
                                                                          and swimming with whales
                                                                          on rare days of calm. Or
                                                                          you can go on a kart sa-
                                                                          fari going in a self drive
                                                                          off road kart, with ‘Vava’u
                                                                          Adventures’ based at the
                                                                          Aquarium café. They also
                                                                          rent sailing dinghy’s, offer
                                                                          wakeboarding,        internet/
                                                                          scype, and organise any
                                                                          other activity available; like,
                                                                          sea kayaking, rent a motor
                                                                          boat, scooter rental, taxis.

                                                                          In Neiafu there’s great
                                                                          backpackers (10,- US a
                                                                          night) as well as more up-
                                                                          scale accommodation. Also
                                                                          importantly the hospital
                                                                          is relatively well stocked,
                                                                                                            We have spent the last 8 years sailing around the islands of the south pacific
                                                                          clean and very well staffed.
                                                                                                            looking for surf and kite spots on our 39-foot yacht “Moet”. Every year we take
 there’s 7 more uninhabited reef islands, all with                        I went there with both feet
                                                                                                            people onboard as contributing crew, sharing the adventure. For more infor-
 white beaches and surrounded by waves at the full of sea urchin spines, and they helped me                 mation about us and being part of the crew see our website www26.brinkster.
 ocean side and perfect flat water at the lagoon side. well (loads of morphine!) and free of charge!        com/moet or email us on We try to reply to all
 All of them unexplored and un-kited paradises.                                                             queries personally whenever we have access to the net (can take a while!).
                                                       Compared to other countries in the south pa-
                                                                                                            Our 07 plans are to revisit Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and New Zealand.
 Vava’u has it all; perfect beginner’s spots (the cific where I have been kiting, Vava’u rates
 Causeway), and perfect wave riding spots and right up there with New Caledonia and Fiji,
 most importantly; lots and lots of wind every and surpasses Vanuatu and New Zealand.
 day during winter. You need a boat for most Plus you’ll be one of the first kiters up here!
 spots. Although overland, both excellent shal-
 low flat-water spots (south side of Koloa and
 Ano beach) and good wave riding                                                                                                         Some friendly faces:
 spots (Ketahi, Botanical gardens
 and Canoe passage) are accessible.                                                                           Matt, Owner of Tonga Bob’s Cantina, and Vava’u Kite Centre Catering to kiters
                                                                                                              with complete packages including: gear hire, instruction, retail, repair, trans-
 The best time for wind is winter                                                                             port, boat trips, accommodation, food, and even a bar discount for kiters!
                                                                                                              Tel +676-59220
 from March to November. Although
 we had non-stop strong winds well                                                                            Kirsty, tel. +676-54331, of Mounu Island Resort, Accommodation including
 into February. Southeast to East                                                                             food. Professional kite instructor on site. Possibly the best spot around.
 trade winds predominate for 80%
 of the time, averaging about 15-20                                                                           Vava’u Adventures: Ben and Lisa, kart safaris, sailing dinghies for rent, and
                                                                                                              more… Tel. +676-70493, web: www.vavauad-
 knots, often 30 knots or more for                                                                  
 days on end, so definitely bring a
 small kite! Also bring all repair ma-                                                                        Rent a boat, at the Coconet Café. Tel. +676-71331
 terials you might need, and booties
 to walk on the reef. There are abun-
 dant seas urchins in some spots!

  Besides kiting Vava’u is famous for
  the whales that visit here during
  winter to give birth to their young.
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