Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Niue

niueIMG_1737 Approaching Niue from the northeast. The waves have laid down in the partial lee of the island but the winds are still a-blowin’.

Niue is basically a small rock in Polynesia. It is one of the largest upraised coral atolls in the world and one of the smallest countries in the world. The population living on the island is about 1,100 with many other Niueans living in New Zealand. Niue is an independent country in free association with New Zealand. Now I’m not that up on my international law, so I’m not too sure what ‘free association’ means but I’m pretty sure it means they are more than just casually dating. Since our Supreme Court has given corporations the constitutional right of free speech, perhaps soon they will give corporations the right to marry, then New Zealand can make an honest women out of Niue.

 niueIMG_1793 We are moored in deep water on a really well maintained mooring in front of the main town, Alofi. The humpback whales seem to like this indentation on the coast – can’t really call it a bay. They stop by to calve when pregnant or with a little luck get pregnant if they aren’t already. You hear these guys blowing at the surface at night between us and the shore. Pretty cool.

niueIMG_1753 The spinner dolphins also like to cruise through the anchorage in large pods.

niueIMG_1770 Checking out the coast line from the pier

niueIMG_1799

The Niuean outrigger canoes have a slightly different style from these we saw in French Polynesia. They are shorter and narrow. This is a classic example of one made of local mahogany. The locals are friendly and it is good for Chris and I to start practicing speaking New Zealand.

niueIMG_1803_2 Captain Cook anchored 3 times in Niue near the current mooring field. On his third attempt to land he planted the Brit flag. He got an unfriendly greeting by the natives with red painted teeth. In a less than tourist-friendly slight he named the place ‘Savage Island’. Besides the natives not being happy with him, I’m sure the fact that there are zero decent anchorages on the island played into his plans to exit quickly. In this picture you can see them launching a large fisheries boat from the the main pier with a crane.  The boom to the right of the crane is where we take our dinghies in. Hook them with a harness and haul them out of the water anytime we want to go to shore. The mooring we are on is in 125 feet of water. Anchoring here would be tough. If the winds crank to the west at all, then even the moorings become untenable and the cruising yachts have to take off.

Paul

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