Sunday, July 15, 2018

Nieu

July 15 - 18, 2018

Niue

On our way from Bora Bora to Tonga, we decided to stop in Niue, the smallest island nation in the world. It is a must stop if you are cruising in the area! The bay is untenable during certain conditions. Any wind or swell from the north or west. We were lucky to have light easterly winds allowing us to have a pleasant stay.

This is one of my favourite stops. It is a hidden gem. Niue is a small upraised coral atoll with stunning limestone cliffs, colorful sea snakes, and lovely snorkeling. The people are friendly, the scenery is incredible , and there is an amazing Indian restaurant (Gill's Indian Restaurant) within walking distance.

A new experience for us, was the lack of dinghy dock. In lieu of a dock, there is a crane. Each time we went to land, we would have to lift the dinghy out of the water, place it on a cart and wheel it into the dinghy parking lot.

Around the island there are several sea tracks, varying in length and difficulty. Here is a link to showcase some of them (https://www.niueisland.com/tracks-walks/). Each has something different to offer, from a walk down to the beach to swimming in a chasm. It is worth while to rent a vehicle, and drive the island to experience some of the sea tracks.

We ended up renting an 8 person van and were joined by Windancer IV for our adventures. As we were heading to our first sea track, we decided to stop and see if there was a restaurant that served coconut crab meals. The restaurant owner suggested that we come back after 10:00 pm as they are walking across the road and can be caught with ease. It was decided that the boys would hunt coconut crabs later that evening.

During our van time, were were able to explore 4 sea tracks and a sculpture park. The art is made at the sculpture park is made solely from rubbish. The last last sea track was a chasm. Most of us decided to swim through to the far side. I called it the gauntlet swim, it was dark, there were leaves in the water, and I didn't know what was below me. Needless to say, I doggie paddles the whole way trying to remain calm so I wouldn't freak out the kids. The pay off was a refreshing fresh water swim with lovely friends.

view from the boat to land
street art
Jordan and a new friend eating popsicles
the van
heading down the road to our first sea track
the girls can never resist swings
view from our walk



chicken and her chicks
our second sea track
heading down the track
inside the cave




view out to the ocean
beautiful clear pool of water during the incoming tide



a headstone on the side of the road
our third sea track



this was a shop that we saw on our way to the sculpture park

this part is where the public can add their piece to create a unique art piece



our last sea track was the chasm
several stairs down
after our swim down to the end



As we were heading back towards town, we happened upon a the Matavai Resort. It just so happened to be happy hour. We couldn't resist!

on our way back we happened upon a resort that was offering happy hour



views from the deck


Once we returned from our sea track adventures, we headed back to our respective boats. Manuel and Shaun started their planning for the coconut crab hunt. Close to 10:00 PM, when it was dark enough, they armed themselves with head lamps, fabric bags, and the will to hunt.

They ended up capturing two crabs. One was too small, and the other was questionable. They decided to release the small one but, bring the second back to Element. We had a video on board showing the correct size and how to prepare the crab. The boys stored the living crab in a bucket, covered with our shoe basket. Remember, coconut crabs can climb trees, and can crunch coconuts. How many of you  think that this particular crab stayed in the makeshift home? Read on to find out.

The morning after the coconut crab hunt, I went out into the cockpit to check on the crab. Low and behold a shoe bucket placed on top of a bucket could not contain a coconut crab. Yes, the crab had vanished, on Element. Shaun was certain that the poor thing fell overboard. Jordan and I, on the other hand, were skeptical. The day went on with our preparations for departure. We said our farewells to our friends, unhooked from the mooring ball and started our journey towards Tonga.

My first watch was from 1:00 am - 4:00 am. It was a clear, dry evening with plenty of stars. I was approximately 1 hour into my watch, sitting at the helm listening to an audio book, when all of a sudden I felt something on my foot. I happened to look down and see a dark creature, crawling across my foot. I'd like to tell you that I handled myself with dignity but in reality, I screamed, swore a couple of times, and scared the daylights out of Shaun (who was sleeping outside). The bloody crab had hidden itself during the day, and decided it was a perfect time to come out of hiding while I was on watch.

Shaun and I, armed with the boat pole, towel, and a bucket, tried very hard to recapture the poor creature. Sadly, it backed itself overboard and sunk. I was so upset with myself that I couldn't save it (land crabs cannot swim).

Luckily, the rest of the voyage to Tonga was quiet and uneventful.

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