Vava u, Tonga
Vava’u is really a group of islands in the northern part of Tonga, consisting of the large island of Utu Vava’u and a cluster of some forty smaller islands. Utu Vava’u is blessed with one of the most protected harbors in the South Pacific, dubbed the Port of Refuge by a grateful early mariner, making it a favorite of yachtsmen. The capital of Neiafu is located on that harbor. The islands are all coral, either raised limestone or atolls. Polynesian mythology insists that the land was created by the god Maui, who hooked the sea bottom while fishing and raised it up. Gazing at the islands popping above the crystal-clear, azure tinted seas, it seems a logical conclusion. The town of Neiafu reflects the laid-back Polynesian spirit of Tonga. Its white church is central to the town. If you are lucky enough to be there when the choir is singing you will hear the clear harmonic blend that has made the Polynesians renowned as singers throughout the world. Activities center on the clear sea and coral reefs, with snorkeling and fishing among the most popular. The fjord-like Pulepulekai Channel is a great place for a lagoon cruise. The island also boasts Ene’io, Tonga’s only Botanical Gardens, and farms producing pineapples and world-famous vanilla. The island does have a progressive coconut products company that produces oil, soaps, cheese, and various other products in an eco-friendly, sustainable way.