Friday, 11 August 2017

Niue - the smallest country in the world

Niue has only 1500 inhabitants but it has a primary school with 250 children in it.

It is the largest lump of coral and lava in the world, and is cliff-faced with an outlying reef around it, but no passes around it. So getting ashore means bringing the dinghy into the wharf and lifting it out on a little crane.  Once you have the knack of it, it works fine, but it means you think twice about popping ashore for a beer or some shopping.

We waved goodbye to Peter and Sue in Niue after a month on board; we have been together to some very extraordinary places in very remote locations and it has been a very happy time, with some good sailing- about 1200 NM in all.  A happy and competent crew.

Niue is a lovely island; we have been diving, whale-watching and snorkelling with humpback whales. The whales have been swimming in the anchorage where we are moored. We have hired a car and driven round the island where there are many sea tracks marked, which are paths down to the coast or onto the reef where you can go exploring. There is a golf course of sorts, bikes for hire and general chill out. Nicky visited the happy and thriving school.  We have become members of Niue Yacht Club which has 1669 members now and bought the burgee and the T-shirt!
Charles on south coast of Niue

Locals have been very friendly; quite how the economy works is as ever a question with these Pacific islands. NZ support is evident and the currency is the NZ dollar. The supply ship has been in for the last 4 days, off-loading and on-loading containers one-by-one, which requires crane from ship to barge; crane from barge to lowloader, then crane off again. Quite a process.

Niue chasm
Today we leave for the Haapai group in Tonga. There is a weather system with 35 knot winds forecast so we want to reach shelter before that arrives next Tuesday - which by then will be Wednesday as we are about to cross the international date line, and lose 24hours!

Peter and Sue on Aitutaki
Humpback whale in Niue

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