My endless pursuit to explore deep sea diving sites brought me to the clear waters of the Nuku’alofa Island. Travelling along with two of my scuba diver friends along the Tonga region of the Pacific Ocean was worth every thrilling minute we had. Swimming along with whales, playing around dolphins in the water and seeing a rich biodiversity in the ocean floor is what comprised our seven day exploration of the island. Learning about their culture, history and mixing with the friendly locals was an added treat aside from finding wonderful drifts in their serene deep blue waters.
Bringing along our PADI certifications and essential diving gears we tried out the services offered by the Deep Blue Diving Company. It is a complete diving center with professional divers and skilled instructors. They also have gears for rent but we prefer to use our own. Wolfgang and his team of expert divers guided us individually as we explored the interesting drifts and dive walls of the ocean. They are so well versed and knowledgeable about the great reef locations to enjoy our diving passion. They brought us to the famous cathedral cave where we get to see a wide selection of small tropical fishes and rich coral reef. The best part of it all was the whale experience underwater where we get to hear them sing and we also got enclosed by baby whales it was such a thrilling dive! We spent a long time interacting with them under the water and play along with their antics. Until we surface in the water they keep following us and jumping around like showing appreciation of our visit. When we got done with our diving here we were in for some sumptuous treats prepared by their team. It was an awesome diving experience.
Driving up to the northwestern tip of the island we discovered the most beautiful attraction on this area, the Ha’atafu Beach. Travelling along we saw interesting sights on the roadside like a cute village, bats hanging on branches of tall trees and feeding on its fruit, and hawkers selling souvenir trinkets. We also checked out the nearby beaches like the Monotapu Beach and the crowded Kolovai Beach but the Ha’atafu was the most beautiful and less crowded. It is free of tourists and the waters are so pristine. Inside we saw a small selection of restaurants and shops. We enjoyed the grilled fishes and fresh seafood offered by a restaurant inside this beach. The facilities like the bathroom and toilets are also clean and well maintained. Despite its beauty walking in the beach is quite difficult because after 100 meters the beach is full of sharp stones and rocks. We were able to kayak when the waters were very still and enjoy the quiet part of the beach. We were also able to surf and snorkel on the fringing coral reef lying under its clean waters. When the tide gets high swimming can become dangerous as the waves and currents become unpredictable. I highly recommend a visit to these wonderful beaches.
We were able to witness a great spectacle of nature when we reached the Mapua’a’ Vaea Blowholes. We watch carefully as a tremendous force hit the waves on the rugged shore. With great interest we saw 4 miles of very high waves and rocks creating an explosion of water showers which draws every tourist to visit these amazing blowholes. The mix of the sharp rocks and the wind that blows in this place very much is what makes it alluring. They thunder against the rocks and spray the water several meters in height. Even if the ocean was quite calm the waves bring on an incredible force. It was amazing to see the color of the water changing from dark blue of the ocean to a fabulous turquoise when the waves break in to the white colored spray. It really is a fascinating spectacle to watch and listen! To maximize the viewing pleasure of these blowholes there is a viewing platform at the parking lot at the end of the road that leads to the cliffs. From this point we have a good view of the attraction from all points and feel safe not to get splashed upon by the strong waves. At the end of the beach and the cliff is the best place to take photographs. All in all it was a very nice place to see.
We had fun seeing natural forms of stalactites and stalagmites and the most pristine waters of the Anahulu Cave – The Underground Swimming Pool. An excellent guide toured us and carefully guided our first underground cave experience. Aside from seeing bats we get to enjoy pure clean waters with a good swim. It was so cold inside the limestone caves in contrast with the hot weather outside. The walking tour around the cave was an experience to see the sea creatures living under the crevices of the rocks, arriving at the main pool was visually stunning. I could not help but jump at such a refreshing sight after a challenging trail to see the caves. The enchanting pool is so deep and it was more fun climbing the rocks and jumping straight to its freezing cold waters. I was so fascinated I did not want to leave the place; I felt it’s my happy place, stress free and just so laid out. Our day ended learning so many interesting things about the rich and colorful past of the island at the Tonga National Cultural Centre. From here I also learned so much about the different kinds of plant species and animals we can find on this island.
The following day we took a short and educational historical tour at the Ha’amonga’a Maui Trilithon. An archway composed of three big rocks, it is not known up to the present times what purpose they serve. Standing for many centuries over a grassy land it was amusing to hear the stories but the most known fact is it was built or moved manually by the early tribesmen who once ruled this island. Sundial, gates to heaven or hell, entrance way to another dimensional era or whatever it still remains as one of the most visited monumental heritage around this area. We dare not miss the chance of seeing the local tribes’ cultural show and fine dining experience at the Oholei Beach Resort Faiva Performance. I was totally captivated by the fire dance show as they perform inside a large enclosed cave. I had a full tummy after having a taste of all the Tongan cuisine nicely spread out on their buffet tables. Everything was new and satisfying to my palate. After the entertaining cultural show the night was filled with live music provided by a locally famous music band. A night of good food, good music, and hospitable resort owners completes the experience of being on this island.
Our last day in the Tonga was spent kayaking at its still waters offered by the Fatai Kayak Adventures. Accompanied by our professional guides it is the ideal way to discover the other outer islands that comprise this region. With their familiarity of the waters they lead us to the site where we could enjoy our paddle and see the great panorama of small islands and snorkeling dives. It is an ideal past time and perfect for beginners as they give a short seminar and even provide the proper suit to enjoy a good kayak adventure. Meeting friendly locals and basking on the beauty of the islands paddling along the tranquil waters was the best way to end our tour.
The beauty of the experience along the Nuku’alofa was quite short but so filled with amazing discoveries. We’ll definitely go back here again.