Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ha’afeva Island

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We tucked behind the island of Ha’afeva to sit out some strong easterly winds and more low overcast. The island has one of the largest towns in the Ha’apai Group with about 500 people that live there, perhaps not all full time – with older kids going to high school off island and lots of adults going to Tongatapu for extended work sessions. We took a couple of soccer balls over to the public school. The teacher – holding the balls – and the kids were pleased and very friendly to us, even though we interrupted class.

haapaiIMG_2745 This is Pita and his nephew. Pita tends to adopt any new cruisers who stop by. He doesn’t speak great English, but gets by. He believes in the Tongan custom of sharing. He always offers fruits and veggies to cruisers from his garden. Offering items from the boat or some payment is fine in return. We gave him some fish hooks. His nephew, Sori, really wanted to come out and see the boat. Once on the boat, we offered Pita some hot coffee --- he’s now hooked on Starbucks French Roast. And we gave Sori a cold Coke. He sat on the settee and just looked at the Coke for a long time. We finally asked him why he didn’t open it and he said with a shy smile “It’s too cold”. After it warmed up a bit he enjoyed it along with a Granola bar.

haapaiIMG_2742 Pita had us over to his families house for a snack and some tea. His father, an old fisherman/diver, is in the green shirt, his mother in the middle near the stove, and his sister, Star, who lives on Tongatapu is next to Chris. Chris gave the grandmother a pair of her ‘reader’ glasses in exchange for some fruit and veggies and Tongan hospitality. She was very happy with the exchange.

haapaiIMG_2727 When you walk into town you pass the cemetery with the traditional Tongan ‘quilt’ over the grave site.

haapaiIMG_2728 The graveyard is just before you get to the sliding gate on the main road. The gate is to keep the pigs out of town and the gardens. There are also stake fences along the beach to stop the pigs from doing an end run.

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There are always a lot of churches in each South Pacific town. Ha’afeva must have at least 4 churches. You can always tell the Latter Day Saints churches as they have a large, lit and fenced basketball court.

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The bell at the top of this mini church tower was missing. In its place are these two two-tone gas bottles hung by chain and struck by hammer.

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A couple of the island ladies preparing pandanus leaves for weaving. I always ask in these situations if I can take a picture. After I take one the Tongans almost always thank me for taking it, as these ladies did.

haapaiIMG_2734 Chris bought a woven bracelet from Kalo for 10 panga (US$4.50) made out of pandanus.

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  The town is on the eastern shore of the island with a 1/2 mile path across to the west where the wharf and the anchorage is. There’s some big spiders lining the trees and fences along path.

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And for my entertainment, there’s some rusty stuff near the wharf. It was once used to unload the freighter that came into the wharf, before the wharf was partially destroyed by a cyclone.

Paul

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