There once was a tale of the Rat and the Octopus and over the
                                                 years it varied.  Whatever the 'true' ending of this tale may be,
                                                 the fact that the rat insulted the octopus is considered the reason
                                                 that ever since then, the octopus seeks revenge against the rat for
                                                 its betrayal. As a result, the Tongan
maka feke lure resembles the
                                                 shape of a rat.
maka feke lure is expertly crafted. A carefully selected cone
                                                 -shaped stone of enough weight to avoid floating, constitutes its
                                                 main part. Half of this stone is covered with a cowrie shell to mimic
                                                 the rat’s fur. The rat’s 'feet' are made from palm tree leaves, which are
also used for the long 'tail'. Palm tree root material is used to fix all components together. A line is tied to
the lure with which it is lowered into the water. On one trip with fishermen from Manuka village on
Tongatapu, the lure was used on a shallow coral reef. Here, the line was lowered into the water and
rhythmically shaken up and down, about one metre above the bottom. After about an hour, a medium-
sized octopus,darted towards the lure and grabbed it. In the same moment, the fisherman jiggling the lure
quickly caught the octopus with his free hand.
Where time begins. . .
May 15 - July  14th, 2009
July 31 - Aug  24th, 2009
Situated just west of the International Date Line and east of Fiji, Tonga is
unique in that it is the only Polynesian country never to have been
colonized, and the only monarchy in the Pacific.
This nation includes 170 tropical islands
( many places to go, so little time)
with a population of just 120,898. The currency is the Tongan pa'anga.  

4 Island Groups
Vavaʻu is an island chain of one large island and 40 smaller ones and are hilly
and relatively populated (pop: 20,000) in Tonga.  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.   

Haʻapai is a group of islands, islets, reefs and shoals in the central part of the
Kingdom of Tonga, with the Tongatapu group to the south and the Vavaʻu
group to the north. Seventeen of the Haʻapai islands are populated.Ha'apai's
are low-lying coral atolls with fewer villages (population 10,000) and even less
evidence of western culture.

Tongatapu is the main island of the Kingdom of Tonga and the location of its
capital Nukuʻalofa. It is located in Tonga's southern island group, to which it
gives its name, and is the country's most populous island, with approximately
71,260 residents (2006), 70.5% of the national population.

Located in the north of the country, 300 km away from Vavaʻu near the border
with Sāmoa. Its closest neighbours are the small island of Tafahi, only 9
kilometers to the north-northeast, and the similarly island of Niuafo'ou. The
three islands together form the administrative division of The Niuas.
Click on Images to Enlarge
Use Back button to return
come tour with us...
Tongans fish for Sea
Cucumbers gleaning on
reefs at low tide or
diving in shallow
waters.   Sea cucumbers
are sedentary marine
Juvenile Banana pod
Blue Star Fish - The sea
bed is speckled with them
at low tide
Typcial packaging of Seafood
by roadside vendors.  Inside
the Banana Leaf is Bobby's
favorite food - Octopus!
length is up to 16 in, a
weight of up to 9 lb, and
a leg span of more than
3 ft, with males
generally being larger
than females. They can
live more than 30 years.
They are hard shelled
except the soft flesh
portion you see here
speckled with orange.
Cllick on Photo
Bob, Kim, Dick,
LeiEllen and Lynn
hiking Eituleva island  
Locals removing
decorations after  a
visit from the  Cheif
of the island
In Asia they have been eating sea cucumbers for
hundreds of years.  Sea cucumbers, also
known as beche-de-mer, are delicacies, health
boosters and maybe even a cure for impotence and
they are harvested all over the world. Collaborative
work done by scientists from China, Japan, Russia
and the United States indicates that certain extracts
in sea cucumbers may help stop the growth of cancer
cells.  All sea cucumbers' skin are full of glucosamine
and chondroitin.   Both are well-known for treating
arthritis.  The slimy, sausage-shaped critters when
dried are an excellent source of protein.     
many would you like??
Click Picture
sea cucumber
Tongan Gravesites
decorated with quilts
Click Image
v a n i l l a
Vanilla beans are hand
pollinated, on family plantations.  They
are then sorted by grade and premium
beans are cured, a process which can
take from three to six months
FOA Island anchorage at Dusk.  Same Time - two
views - both sunset and the Moon
Riding along the ocean waves
From Uoleva Island  we notice someone
transiting the water from the distant
island.    He comes ashore riding...    
Returns to his home island with sacks of
Uoleva Island,
NE end
Free Range Pigs?    
Tonga islands are peppered with
and board their property to keep
them out.  The pigs eat the fallen
fruit from Mango and Papaya trees
making them very fat and little meat
- Just the way Tongans like them!
Scraping hair from meaty areas
Meeting local families and learning
their ways gives us a glimpse into the
hard life they lead.  
We met a young man who gave us a
tour of his island and brought us to his
home where he offered lunch to us.  
Found the father out back roasting the
meat.  Their meals typically consist of
local grown root and vegetables
including Bread fruit, Taro leaf and
plantain.  Their meat is usually fish,
chicken, pig or dog.
Fishing for Octopus behind Northern Winds
Maka Feke octopus lure
Tongan travels between islands...
Royal Palace of Tonga
We were unable to view the
grounds or the interior however
found a link to photos on the
Tongan Gov site
Tongan Boy climes Coconut Tree
Muli'one;a type of sea slug,
cut open to expose organs
the Tongans eat.  
Want a Coconut?  
The kids are keen to show
their skills in climbing these
towering trees
Driving by the school is
great fun.!.. the students
love to see you and run
after the car.
Seaweed gathered from the shallow
lagoons make a great salad!
What is vanilla?
True vanilla flavor comes from
the cured seed pod (bean) of
the vanilla orchid
for village gatherings, matt
weaving and in this case
Uarrgh! says Bobby as we join in
some pirate fun with our friends
An adorable little girl that
would follow us as we walked
and when close, stroked our of
the kids want to touch a palagi.
(white person)
Blow holes - South side of TongaTapu
The basket weaving is
fabulous in Tonga.  
Better than anywhere
we've been.  We have
many on the boat
Catholic Church  Neiafu ~ Vava'u
The visitors are most impressed by
singing at the church, which starts by a few people but grows
into participation of all attendants, men and women singing different parts without any written prompts.
The major attraction of the town is Neiafu's
Catholic Church, definitely the most outstanding
building in the town.
So Creative!!
So Creative!!
Falehua Village
Primary School
There are three villages on Niuatoputapu
(pronounced; New-eh-Toe-poo-Ta-poo) and
Falehau being the furthest Eastern village.  The
schools on this island are staffed with teachers
from the mainland however the school supplies
and curriculum are very limited and often created
by the teachers.  The government supplies the
building and the villages construct the rest.  These
remote islands depend greatly on the cruising
community to bring them supplies as the only ship
available is irregular and scarce.
The kids revel in getting
their pictures taken and
showing us their school
work.  Primary school
workbooks, supplies and teacher aids were accepted graciously.  The following day we
returned with the class photos to find that the kids had worked all morning building
baskets and filling them with fruit and vegetables for us.
Bread can be hard to come by
while                         only the Island
                    Baker but he is
                    also the Islands
                    Police Chief.
Village Bakery
Bob: "einiee, minee,
miney, mo...."   
Preparing for a delivery
to the neighboring
island of Tafahi
note his ovenmits
"Take Two"
family business
Hand Made bladed tool
finely woven mat
The Tongan Ta'ovala is worn mostly on special
occasions such as: Weddings, Funerals,
Birthdays, Church and Special events.
And its a must to wear these Cloths when see-
ing the king, attending his birthday, attending
a nobles funeral or special events having any
doing with his royal majesty or her royal
majesty of Tonga or any like known nobles.
A taʻovala is 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 worn over cloth skirt, coming
halfway up the thighs. It is tied with a rope
human hair of a deceased ancestor)
wrapped around the waist.
Leaves cut off
soaked in the ocean (turns
them white), hung to dry
and then flattened.  Strips of pandanus leaves
are cut by using the tool you see above,
giving them straight uniformed strips.  They
are then woven into mats that can take
months to complete.  Many women work
together to complete one.  They sit upon the
finished sections as they work to finish.
Dried leaves ready for cutting
I met her at Church and I
loved taking her photo
Local family we befriended, Sia and
Niko and their youngest son.  Sia is
the Customs and Immigration agent
on the island shown here with their
visiting priest.  
Tongan fales (homes) consist of an open-room with mat floors for
sleeping, little to no furniture and a Kitchen in another fale not attached.
1 - Sia washing dishes at her outdoor Kitchen.
2 - View of inside her Kitchen
3 - Picnic at the Beach with Sia and her family