Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Niue Photos

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
The  new hospital is inland, well away from the threat of Cyclones. I went there yesterday and met the two local doctors, both from Tonga. The Hospital is well equipped and modern, and the only patient was a woman who had given birth the night before, without complications. It services a population 1500 people and anything serious thats not an emergency is sent to New Zealand, so I dont think its busy, ever. They asked me to stay or come back to work sometime as they often have trouble getting people to stay. I'm booked out for this year but will look into coming back for a while next year sometime. When I was here last time, we did a ward round each morning, and then because almost nobody had a car in 1983, we did what was known as the "Island Round" in  a Ford Transit van with a nurse.We drove round the whole Island, with a lunch stop at Liku on the eastern side. As we drove we looked for any house that had a red "flag" on a tree or post outside - it could be a towel or a pair of red underpants, anything red- signifying they wanted us to stop and see someone. Usually it was just someone needing more tablets or a check up, or their monthly injection for Rheumatic Fever.
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

1 comment:

  1. Love the photo's David, especially the one's from Suwarrow. You have to admit.......this was a good decision to return and continue the journey.
    Have fun and continue to enjoy the voyaging.