Fiji and Tonga (land)

When we would go diving from the resort on Taveuni, this was the part of the larger island, Vanua Levu, that we would see every day:


... and this is the beach where we spent our hour breaks between dives:


That picture was taken at high tide.  At low tide, the area of beach we could walk on was enormous, as the slope of the beach was so shallow.


This was the view we had going back out for our second dive each morning (looks like a painting, doesn't it?).

The restaurant at the resort had some interesting takes on dishes.  A "chicken bacon wrap" was just a chicken breast wrapped in bacon.  "Cinnamon rolls" (served at the evening meal) were soft dinner rolls with slight cinnamon seasoning.  "Cheesy burger on flat bread" turned out to be a cheeseburger between 2 slices of homemade soft white bread.  "Beef stroganoff" was pieces of beef steak served with mushrooms, but no sauce or noodles.

We left Taveuni on a very small plane (less than 20 seats), and this was a view we had of the cockpit (just like Steve, the pilot likes to be comfortable):


Steve really wanted to contribute this video - as this blog flies from Fiji to Tonga.

Due to the category 5 cyclone that hit Tonga dead-on in Feb. 2018, we ended up staying on the main island of Tongatapu, rather than taking a ferry over to 'Eua (pronounced "ah wa").  The accommodations there had been heavily damaged, and they weren't able to rebuild enough to be open for us.  That island is known for a very laid back vibe, where you whale watch from shore, and maybe go on hikes for bird watching.

So, we made the best of it here - catching up blogs and editing the too numerous pictures and videos we'd taken for the last 10 weeks.  We also took a full day tour around the entire island, seeing all the "sights".  The road signs at intersections commonly listed the tourist sights, rather than any upcoming "towns".  The notable sights were blowholes, Tsunami rock, Captain Cook's landing site (in 1777), a natural bridge, and the Tongan version of Stonehenge:


The Natural Bridge was one of our favorites, due to its isolated nature and the beauty of the sea in contrast to the rocks and vegetation.


Tsunami Rock didn't sound like much, but we trusted our guide to show us the "real" Tonga, so we went along with it.

Apparently, there's a hole in the surrounding reef that corresponds to this "rock".

Apparently, there's a hole in the surrounding reef that corresponds to this "rock".

Our hands down favorite was the Mapu'a 'a Vaea Blowholes.  We expected several blowholes, but weren't prepared for several kilometers of coastline lined with them!


Flying foxes are some of the largest bats in the world.  We actually saw them out during the day, as they are insect eaters (sadly, I never got any pictures of them on the wing).  Like this fella, we're just hanging around, waiting to join the Nai'a again for close encounters with humpback whales.