|Sapphire on Mooring No. 5 , Alofi|
Actually, the Official Name of my boat, registered on the Australian Ships Register, is "Sapphire Breeze". It might be recalled that when I left Australian waters in 2009, it was from Lord Howe Island and the Immigration/Customs/you-name it everything policeman on the island checked me out not realising, as I also had not realized that New South Wales registration - which was all I had at the time - was insufficient for boats heading into international waters. He informed me of this by email a few days later when I was well on the way to New Zealand. subsequently Ive fudged my registration somewhat and no-body in NZ or french Polynesia realized my rego "Papers" were for NSW not Australia.Meanwhile I was going through what turned out to be a nightmare of bureaucratic red tape trying to get the required documentation. It was only completed earlier this year, and I have her new name printed out on a huge vinyl sticker in the requred Font and size, but I wont put it on until I am returning to Australian waters again. No idea when that might be!
|The Wharf and Dinghy Crane at Alfi, Niue Island.|
Coming ashore is interesting as there is no dinghy "dock" or beach where you can leave your dinghy. You rig up a bridle and if the previous user has been considerate and left the hook out over water, you loop your bridle through the hook, clamber ashore up the steps and operate the electric crane to lift the dinghy up to the right height, you manually swing the crane in to the wharf and lower your dinghy onto the little flat trolley, and unload it before swinging the hook back out over the water and leaving the trolley nearby for the next person. My dinghy is bottom right.
|Sapphire on her mooring at Alofi|
Niue, locally known as "The Rock" is a "raised coral Atoll". It was originally, as all atolls are, a volcanic peak with a reef around it. Over millenia the peak shrank under the sea but the coral grew to keep its head above water as it were, and eventually it became a ring of coral with a vast lagoon of coral in the interior. As the mountain sank further the coral kept growing so eventually the "mountain" was hundreds of feet beneath a cone of coral with a lagoon at the top - a typical Atoll really. The next bit is what makes it interesting - the mountain moved up - or maybe the sea dropped ? - anyway the "Lagoon" dried out and eventually became forest, the island formed with steep cliffs and a drop off into the ocean right up against it, and the interior flat like a saucer! And thats Niue folks - solid coral thousands of feet thick,porous and riddled with coral caves and grottoes, no encircling reef, no lagoon.
|Panorama of the moorings and the Island|
|Coral cave at Limu : Clear ocean water right up to the cliffs|
|Avaiki Cave : swam here many times with the kids in 1983|
|Looking north to Makapu Point|
|Taro plantation inland. The soil is thin and poor, and rocky.|
|The road that encircles the island: it was unsealed in 1983|
|Some of my "in laws" in Makefu : we are dressed up for Church|
|Taking the kids out to Sapphire. They loved it!|
|The new Hospital|
|These sea snakes are common, and harmless to humans- so they say!|
|I went snorkelling at Limu Pools.|
|Two yachts departing for Tonga late yesterday. I'll be following them in a couple of days|