Monday, 27 October 2008

Some pics from paradaisical Pacific

On the look-out for shallow reef in Vava U, Tonga.

Our welcoming committee in Havai island group of Tonga.. There is no TV here.. Just family, friends, school and incredible natural island paradise they live in. These kids are obviously enthusiastic, nice and unspoiled.. yet.. Today most finished the school exam given to all 12 year olds. In a few months they will travel to one of the larger islands where they will stay with family and friends to start high school.

A bouquet of flowers as found alongside every road. The woman, and some men.., wear a fresh one behind the ear. On the right side signifies your availability and the left that you are taken..

By the time I get back I will make a mean home-made bread.. I bake with gusto and varied success, as witnessed by Gloria and Cedric. Luckily their French and South American cooking is enjoyable all the time.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

From backpacking, to travelling, adventuring to exploring

I gave up backpacking a long time ago. Going to and from hostel to campground to hostel with the same transport as all other travelbible carriers (Lonely Planet, etc..) does not really enrich the spirit, knowledge or provides for original local experiences nor immersion in local culture. Travelling is good. Adventuring into the chartered, but unknown is better and exiting. Now we are about to move into the realm of exploring as we are going to touch the untouched by taking the north of equator route to avoid the hurricane season, visiting the North Pacific Kiribati islands, Marshal islands, Caroline group, Salamon islands and an assortment of as of yet unknown island and nations as well as Papua New Guinea!

But first we will finish our South Pacific adventure in Fiji to we should be able to find some great diving and snorkling, as well as another original mix of races, cultures and unique flora and fauna - and in Fiji's case- some political turmoil. Also we can perform necessary repairs and maintenance and stock up for the next 4 month leg of the journey.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Vava U

We have arrived in Vava U, a northern island group of the Kingdom of Tonga. Very beautiful and know for its wales. Especially the humpback wales come from Antartica to breed and calve so with a bit of luck we will see some families mucking about out beyond the west and lee side of the island. Lee, out of the wind, because the trade winds always East to South East in the Southern Pacific. The wales sing their songs towards the reef or steep rock formation to echo and amplify the sounds to their brothers hundreds of miles across the ocean. Mostly the males sing to each other and to call the ladies... They sing the same songs which change over time and with outside influences from wales visiting from other home grounds... sounds familiar..

Last night we went to a Tongan dance and dinner on the beach at the other side of the island. Drank some kava for the first time. The musicians were far to fond of the plant root drink to share much.. but I got offered a cup after presenting myself properly.. unlike the women in our group who were really not welcome to sit down in the first place.. and certainly were not supposed to partake in the sharing of kava. Much to their chagrin of course. There are quite strict customs on who does what and says what etc..

One such custom is that people feel obliged to give possessions away when someone makes a favorable comment. So as I made mention of the truly nice flowers worn by an older lady this morning, she turned around and offered them to me for my wife (I was walking around town with Cedric's girlfriend). This is a sign we are slowly moving into the Melanesian cultural influence and are leaving behind more of Polynesia with every new island we visit.

One big decision to make soon will be.. New Zealand and Australia or north to Melanesian islands to Papua New Genuia to Australia. All to do with finding favorable winds and currents while avoiding the hurricane season.