Vava'u, in the Kingdom
of Tonga, is located in the
south pacific, just east of
the International
Dateline.  It lies 400 miles
East of Fiji, 1,200 miles
North-Northeast of New
Zealand, and 160 miles
southeast of Samoa.   Vavaʻu is an island chain of one large
island and 40 smaller ones. Vavaʻu rises 204 meters above
sea level. The capital is Neiafu, which is the second largest
city in Tonga, situated at one of the best harbours of the
world, the Port of Refuge.  
Tonga, pronounced TONG guh, is a country made up of 150 islands in the South Pacific
Ocean.   Tonga is the only remaining Kingdom in Polynesia, one of the three main regions in the
Pacific Islands.

Government: Tonga is a constitutional monarchy. The King, a hereditary ruler, appoints a prime
minister and a cabinet to assist him.  Almost all Tongans are Polynesian and Christians. Tongans
constitution prohibits work
or recreation on Sunday.

Most Tongans live in small
villages and farm or fish.  
Majority of the islands have no
running water and many have
no electric service.
View of Port of Refuge below
131m high Mt. Talau
Catholic Mission Church
commanding  great views of the Port of
Following the service the Senior Priest
decorated in the most formal flower Leigh's
removed them from his habit and presented
them to us welcoming us to the island.
at ANO Beach
Tongan Women preparing feast
Local women sell their art
Tongan Pigs roam free and nourish through primarily
fruits and roots making them high in fat and
little meat.  Tongans typically eat the young.
The feast table skirted in Banana Leafs highlights
Tongan meals served in Coconut leaf stems for trays
Local children entertain
us with dance and singing
Bob tries his hand at a new instrument
Scuba Diving  fish of Tonga
Snowflake Eel
Wedged Triggerfish
Clown Triggerfish
BiColor Angelfish
Boxfish Male
Christmas Wrasse
Spotted Boxfish
Orange Band Surgeon
White Tip Reef Shark
Regal Fish
Touring Vava'u
Zebra Lion Fish
Parrot Fish
Saddled Butterfly
Blue StarFish
White Cheek Angel
Looking for Lunch
Bob: "Papayas' look great!"
Kim: "Can she stay with us?"
School Bus
Bob: "Hand me a Wrench"
Dick: " long are we
going to be in Vava'u?"
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Neifu City, Vava'u Island Waterfront - Yacht Club
Bob: "Which One?"
Kim: "Will take a year either way!"
Kim: "Look!  Mandarin Oranges"
Bob: "Locals call them
moli "
Vava'u Adventures Cart Tour
Kim: "Do you know how
to drive this"?
Bob: "I can
Bob: "I hope this doesn't
come out at a cliff
Kim: "Let's hope you
fly anything "
A Tongan dress, a mat wrapped around the waist, worn by men and
women, at all formal occasions
The normal taʻovala, for everyday neat wear, is a short                                                            mat, coming
halfway the thighs. It is tied with a rope (kafa, often made                                                       of coconut coir
or of human hair of a deceased ancestor) wrapped                                                                 around the
waist. The mat worn at festive occasions, like a marriage                                                      is much larger,
and often very nicely decorated.  Queen Salote Tupou III                                                        ordered the
taʻovala to be part of the civil servants' uniform. The use                                                        of the taʻovala
for men is therefore extremely common in Tonga. For women it is somewhat less, as they prefer a
kiekie to wear.    A
kiekie is a Tongan dress, an ornamental girdle round  the waist, mainly worn by
women on semiformal occasions, but nowadays also sometimes by men.  
Click on Image at Left
Strips of pandanus
leaves, usually un-
painted, although
sometimes black strips are used. The strips
range from course (15 mm or so as for
funerals) to fine (a couple of millimeters, as
the taʻovala loukeha, in
which one is dressed to
visit the king). Mats are
always woven by hand.
Especially the fine mats
are therefore very laborious
to make, take a long time
to complete and are
Pandanus leaves are cut
Workers are cutting off the jagged teeth
from the outer edges of the Pandanus Leaf
to prepare for weaving
Local women are often spending their
days inside buildings such as this,
weaving Ta'ovala    
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use back button
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Kim: "Look at those Flying Foxes!"
Flying Foxes

They are called bats, megabats, fruit
bats and flying foxes – it’s all the same
animal.  They do not use sound, or,
echolocation to “see” but have
excellent eyesight like ours in daylight
and they see better than we do at
night.  They do not hibernate in winter.
Most of them prefer to roost in trees
and avoid caves and buildings.  Maybe
they are called fruit bats because they
look like dark fruit hanging in trees -
their choice of food is pollen and
nector though they are also seen
eating fruit such as Papaya.

The world's largest bat, called a    
giant flying fox bat, is found in
Indonesia and has a wingspan
of more than six feet.
click me
"peka"  fruit bat
Views from our Cart Tour....
stop -
Bob sings  
ABC's with
Taro plant
Bob takes the
removes hard
vein and boils,
serves with
Garlic Pasta
Bob's new car...
Getting around
Root  is baked, much like a potatoe
Here the Tongan woman cleaned the hulali for
squeezed the salt and waste from it, followed by
slicing it lengthwise.  The consistency was very
tough and hard to chew, salty.  We understand
they are sold at markets pickled in tall jars.  
a type of sea slug, cut open to expose
organs the Tongans eat.
Men and male youth from the village head out at
sunset to fish, using hand-held fishing spears
and nets.  The Women and children also do
their fair share of fishing, venturing out during
low tide to collect clams, sea urchins, hulali,
octopus, and muli'one (sea-slugs), which are
either sold or eaten at home.
a sea creature, cross between a sea
cucumber and a large worm found in shallow
reefs.  Natives locate by vertical hole evident
by sight and dig deep to prevent damaging it.  
They will harvest rice bags full of both hulali
Local Woman roasting sea
urchins on the beach
A walk along a remote island beach
brings us to new discoveries
It is against the law to work
or play on Sundays.
A hike on Euakafa (AY-wah-KAH-fah) leads us to the tomb of a Tongan princess.
note: Northern Winds center bay at lands edge and the white bird caught in flight
Hiking the islands of Vava'u,
Kingdom of Tonga  -  May-July, 2008
A beach-side rest with dear friends Lynn
and Dick of  
"Wind Pony"
Kayaking to trail head on
Faka'eitu Island
Local family from Pangaimotu
same women who harvested Hulali
Coconut Stick Insects
Found wherever coconut palms grow.  
Well camouflaged on or near coconut palms, where they typically lay
flat underneath leaflets. When disturbed, they may display their
bright pink wings.
Feeds mainly on coconut palms, devouring the green tissue of
leaflets and sometimes the youngest fronds.
Bob's Hitchhikers
Tongan Home
Bob: "Fresh Liver?"
Native: "Hey, it's Willie Nelson!"
"Kim! Look - it's a Clown Fish!"
Bob: "Kim, you can have the rest"
May 15 - July  14th, 2008
keep the wild women away?
Dick: "Sure Hope Not"