We got a real treat when we went ashore on Euakafa island – Aussies, not like in people from Australia, but Australian Sheppard dogs. 3 energetic and well behaved Aussies for Chris and I to get our dog fix. Chris got a little carried away and left with a case of puppy elbow. Brett, the dogs owner, is an Aussie himself who leased land here to build a little private, off grid, personal paradise and eventually a small hostel type pension(https://www.facebook.com/Euakafa.Island).
Tongans are given a small plot of land in the towns plus 8 acres outside of town for farming. The land that Brett leased would have been decent farm land once it was cleared, but had not been previously farmed. The owner agreed to give him a 50 year lease on the property.
Brett is a really friendly guy and welcomes visitors. We shared a nice potluck at his place that evening, along with Judy and Sherman off Fair Winds and Keith off Sadiqi, and of course the Aussies.
Brett took us on a hike to the top of the island to see the Tomb of Queen Talafaiva. The story goes she was buried there almost 500 years ago by the King after he inadvertently had her beat to death for sharing her favors with one of the handsome young men of Vava’u.
The view from the top made the hike up worth it – as much as I dislike hiking uphill – at least this time it was down on the way back. We were hoping to see some humpback whales in the pass. The day before we sailed through this pass coming in to the anchorage and had seen a couple of whales lazing around there… but no luck.
Brett, Chris and the good Aussies examining the Queen’s tomb. It’s impressive, built of slabs of limestone cut at the reef and carried straight up the hill we’d just climbed. The body is gone now, taken, some say, by her lover.
Before we went to Euakafa, we stopped at a small island nearby to do some shelling since it was a rare calm and sunny day.
The shelling wasn’t good and the island’s large population of sooty terns were not happy about our presence at their island.
As we walked along the rocky shore you could see the shadows of the menacing terns just overhead. OK, true confessions. When I was a kid in Florida and used to walk along the side the rock pits, we would get attacked by terns. At times we’d all have to run off with blood on our elbows from the attacks by these armed and dangerous critters…
Plus, I’ve watched Alfred Hitchcock's the Birds too many times.
P.S. for cruisers: Eaukafa island is anchorage #32 on the Moorings charts. You can anchor off Brett’s obvious blue house and dinghy in through a pass in the reef to the left, looking at the beach. The Aussies are the 3 friendly dogs. Just south of Brett’s place is a pier that is owned by an Austrian expat who has a reputation as being NOT cruiser friendly – i.e., don’t use my pier. He also has 3 dogs that roam the beach in front of his place and who are decidedly not good dogs- you should stay clear of them.