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TONGA
SAILING ITINERARIES


A Tonga sailing itinerary covers a cruising ground from Vava'u, the largest island of the Vava'u group, south for about 15 nautical miles and 15 nautical miles east to west (see Tonga maps). Within this area are numerous uninhabited wooded islands ringed with white-sand beaches and coral reefs ideal for snorkeling. Passages between some of the best anchorages in the South Pacific are typically short, with stops along the way to explore the islands, snorkel on the reefs, or simply anchor for a relaxing lunch in an unspoiled setting reminiscent of what the Pacific must have been like for Captain James Cook when he sailed Tongan waters in the mid-1700s.




Day 1: Kapa Island

Taunga Island to Kapa Island - 8 nm. Continuing west to Nuapapu Island, just north of Vaka°«eitu Island, you'll find several good anchorages for a day stop. An interesting feature on the northwest shore of Nuapapu is the submerged Mariner's Cave, an underwater curiosity where the snorkeling is intriguing. Sailing a short distance east puts you back at Kapa Island and the overnight anchorage at Port Maurelle.

Mooring:Two public moorings are available. Check with the Moorings base about their current condition before you use them. At Port Maurelle, anchor about 50 yards off the beach. No more than a mile away is another beautiful anchorage west of the village of Falevai and north of tiny Nuku Island. In strong easterly winds, you can also anchor right off Falevai.

Dinghy dockage: Dinghy dockage is available.

Things to do:From the Port Maurelle anchorage, take the dinghy to the northwest end of Kapa Island to explore Swallows Cave. You can drive right inside and view the colorful display of stalactites in the dim sunlight that shines through a circular hole over the dry portion of the cave. Beneath the water is an equally impressive coral formation. Visibility in the cave is excellent. The cave is a unique place for some great snorkeling. With a flashlight in hand, you can prowl the dry inner sections, where traditional Tongan feasts were once held. The superb snorkeling off the north end of nearby Ava Island is easily accessibly by dinghy from Port Maurelle and from the anchorage off Nuku. Nuku is a wonderful little island to explore on foot. It is known as the picnic place of Vava°«u


Day 2: Nuku Island

Kapa Island to Nuku Island - 1 nm. Staying close to Kapa Island allows you to spend the day snorkeling off the north end of nearby Ava Island. At the northwest end of Kapa Island is a place called Swallows Cave. It's an extraordinary blue grotto you can ride into with the dinghy. The second anchorage at Kapa Island is off Nuku Island, scenic and well protected.

Mooring: Two public moorings are available. Check with the Moorings base about their current condition before you use them. At Port Maurelle, anchor about 50 yards off the beach. No more than a mile away is another beautiful anchorage west of the village of Falevai and north of tiny Nuku Island. In strong easterly winds, you can also anchor right off Falevai.

Dinghy dockage: Dinghy dockage is available.

Things to do:From the Port Maurelle anchorage, take the dinghy to the northwest end of Kapa Island to explore Swallows Cave. You can drive right inside and view the colorful display of stalactites in the dim sunlight that shines through a circular hole over the dry portion of the cave. Beneath the water is an equally impressive coral formation. Visibility in the cave is excellent. The cave is a unique place for some great snorkeling. With a flashlight in hand, you can prowl the dry inner sections, where traditional Tongan feasts were once held. The superb snorkeling off the north end of nearby Ava Island is easily accessibly by dinghy from Port Maurelle and from the anchorage off Nuku. Nuku is a wonderful little island to explore on foot. It is known as the picnic place of Vava′u.


Day 3: Hunga Island

Nuku Island to Hunga Island - 9 nm. Sail south of Ava and Oto islands, then head north and west to the westernmost of the islands of Vava′u, Hunga Island. The passage is filled with breathtaking beauty as you navigate among the islands, and skirt the west shore of Hunga. A pair of cliffs flanks the narrow entrance to Hunga Lagoon, one of the best anchorages in the entire island group. Inside are excellent beaches, a restaurant, and a village. Navigating Hunga Lagoon can be tricky. Enter or leave only one hour before or after high tide, in calm seas, and with good sunlight.

Mooring: The Ika Lahi Game Fishing Lodge has moorings for a fee. The preferred anchorage is at the northeastern end of the lagoon.

Dinghy dockage: No dinghy dockage is available.

Things to do: If you're mindful of the tides, you can take the dinghy through the passage at the south end of the lagoon and snorkel off the reefs near Foeata Island. A relaxing dinner at the Ika Lahi Game Fishing Lodge is a worthy option to consider for the evening, as is a leisurely walk inland to explore the island, where you can tour the village and the school.


Day 4: Vaka'eitu Island

Hunga Island to Vaka′eitu Island - 7 nm. Sailing south brings you past Fofoa Island and the extensive reef linking it to Foelifuka and Foeata islands. Stop at the day anchorage off the north side of Foeata to do some snorkeling or to enjoy a delicious lunch at the Blue Lagoon Restaurant. From there it's just a few miles to the beautiful island of Vaka′eitu, with its picturesque anchorage.

Mooring:Nomoorings are available. Anchor in the bight just north of Vaka′eitu Island. There is a day anchorage on the north side of Foeata Island.

Dinghy dockage: Dinghy dockage is available at Hotel Bora-Bora for boaters who avail themselves of the excellent food and drink at the hotel's restaurant and bar.

Things to do: The Blue Lagoon Restaurant is on Foeata Island, a favorite spot for groups on eco-tours to watch the humpback whales that frequent Tongan waters from July through November. The snorkeling is good on the reef. Just east of the anchorage at Vaka′eitu Island is another day anchorage off Langitau. The snorkeling is interesting off this island. Take the dinghy ashore and climb to the top of the hill. The view is magnificent.


Day 5: Fonua'one'one

Vaka′eitu Island to Fonua′one′one - 17 nm. Use Vaka′eitu Island as a base for a day trip to explore some of the small islands to the south. Return to the anchorage for a restful evening. An excellent route for the day in winter northeasterly winds takes you on a run southwest past Ovaka Island, then on a beam reach southeast most of the way to a group of five uninhabited islands with day anchorages and fabulous snorkeling. From west to east they are Fangasito (Luaa Fuleheu), Fonua′one′one, Lua Ui Vaha, Luahiapu, and Fua′amotu. By far the easiest anchorage is off Fonua′one′one. When you're ready to head back, sail north past Euakafa Island, and bear off for a fun beam reach to Vaka′eitu. You will have circumnavigated Ovaka and Euakafa islands and the extensive reef that connects them!

Mooring:No moorings are available. Anchor off the north side of the island at the west end of the reef.

Dinghy dockage: No dinghy dockage is available.

Things to do:Go ashore to walk the beach and explore the island. Snorkeling is excellent on the reef. The other four nearby islands are also splendid for day trips, though the anchoring is more difficult.


Day 6: Tapana Island

Vaka′eitu Island to Tapana Island - 8 nm. If you chose the circle route on the previous day's passage, you sailed past Euakafa Island on the way back to Vaka′eitu. Situated due east of Ovaka Island and its extensive reef, Euakafa is another excellent day stop for exploring ashore and for snorkeling. The high plateau rises about 300 feet from the beach. You could spend an entire day enjoying the sights and the reef. From there your course takes you northward to one of three picturesque anchorages off Tapana Island and Pangiamotu. Pangiamotu's beautiful Hinakaue′a Beach, a favorite spot for traditional Tongan feasts, is nearby. There is also a restaurant and an art gallery.

Mooring: The Floating Ark Gallery has moorings. You get one night free if you buy something at the gallery. Anchor off the small beach on the north end of Tapana Island. There is also a pleasant anchorage on the south side of Tapana. Lisa Beach off Pangiamotu is a beautiful and sheltered anchorage.

Dinghy dockage: No Dinghy dockage is available.

Things to do: Dining ashore at La Paella Restaurant is a great opportunity to relax in a pleasing island ambience and enjoy a delicious meal. Also in the anchorage is the appropriately named Ark Gallery run by an American who settled in Tonga more than two decades ago. The studio is in a colorfully painted houseboat. Sheri's artwork includes paintings of local scenes, hand-painted T-shirts, greeting cards, and other intriguing handicrafts. The anchorage is near Pangiamotu's beautiful Hinakaue′a and Ano beaches, both favorite spots for traditional Tongan feasts.


Day 7: Kenutu Island

Tapana Island to Kenutu Island - 20 nm. This passage looks like a thin V on the chart. It takes you south to the far end of the Vava′u group to Maninita Island, one of the prettiest you'll find. Small and heavily wooded with majestic puko trees, the islet is fringed with a spectacular white-sand beach. The surrounding reef teems with sea life and is superb for snorkeling. From Maninita, you sail north to just as remote Kenutu Island at the very eastern edge of the Vava′u group.

Mooring: No moorings are available. The anchorage lies about 100 yards off the island. It provides good protection from the prevailing easterly winds.

Dinghy dockage: No Dinghy dockage is available.

Things to do: Spending a pleasant afternoon on the beach and swimming in the crystal clear water is a fun way to pass the time. A hike to the east side of the island is worth it just to watch the impressive surf roll in at the base of the cliffs. A dinghy ride to the nearby islets of Umuna and Faioa is also interesting. Experienced scuba divers will find Kenutu challenging and rewarding.


Day 8: Olo'ua Island

Kenutu Island to Olo′ua Island - 5 nm. From Kenutu Island you head west through the reef pass, then north to scenic Olo′ua Island. Nearby are Mafana and Ofu. All three offer superb snorkeling and protected anchorages in the prevailing easterly winds.

Mooring: No moorings are available. Anchorages with good protection from the prevailing easterly winds are off the west shore of each island. The one at Ofu is the prettiest.

Dinghy dockage: No inghy dockage is available

Things to do: Snorkeling, swimming, and sunbathing are the main attractions of the three islands.


Day 9: Taunga Island

Olo′ua Island to Taunga Island - 5 nm. From Olo′ua Island you head south and west through the reef passes to scenic Taunga Island, where you'll find beautiful beaches, hiking paths, and excellent snorkeling near the anchorage on the west side adjacent to the islets of Ngau and Pau. Scuba diving is popular as well.

Mooring: No moorings are available. The only overnight anchorage is on the east side of the island, with good protection from south and west winds. There are four excellent day anchorages that provide access to pristine white-sand beaches, hiking paths, swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving.

Dinghy dockage: No Dinghy dockage is available

Things to do: The islets of Ngau and Pau to the south of Taunga are wonderful for beach combing, swimming, and snorkeling. Scuba diving is also popular. The beach on the southeast end of Ngau is pleasant for hiking. On the east side of Taunga, the islet of Tauta is good for snorkeling.

Final Morning: Kapa Island to Neiafu - 6 nm. Although you won't want to sail back to reality (you can always come visit Tonga again!), the final leg of your charter will be an easy passage north back to the Moorings base. Please check in by noon.




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Tonga: Suggested Cruising Program Popular 10 day program . Please note: Information on this sheet is believed to be correct but not guaranteed