Tonga: The Friendly Islands

Tonga is a Polynesian kingdom in the South Pacific with 176 islands, 53 of which are inhabited. The state can boast of being the only one in Oceania that has never been colonized by Europeans. The nickname “Friendly Islands” was given to the islands by Captain Cook, who was overwhelmed by the friendliness of the inhabitants when he anchored in Tonga on his circumnavigation. Little did he realize that the exuberant hospitality towards him was part of a plan to assassinate him and his crew and pillage his ships. The plan was not implemented at the last minute because of a dispute among dignitaries of the islands. Such sinister plans obviously do not exist for today’s visitors to the kingdom and Cook’s name for Tonga is more accurate today than in 1773.

Tonga consists of four main island groups: ‘Eua and Tongatapu in the south, Ha’apai in the center and Vava’u in the north. Further north are the islands of Niua Fo’ou and Niuatoputapu, which make up the Niua archipelago. Each group of islands has its own charm.

In addition to a delightful yacht charter area at the Vava’u Islands, Tonga offers a wealth of activities: diving, snorkeling, swimming with whales, kayaking, kite boarding, surfing, fishing, bird watching, safaris inland.

The lovely lagoons of the western islands of Luapapu, Vaka’eita and Hunga are just as inviting as the dreamy beeches on Nuku with beautiful, white coral beaches lined with coconut palms, as well as the imposing waterfalls and caves that invite you to explore.

To the south you get to Ovaka, Ovalau and Mouna, to the west to Ofu Nafana and Kenutu. More than 40 fabulous anchorages await in the yacht charter area of ​​the Vava’u Islands offer the sailor a wide range of destinations.

Tonga can look back on a history of about 3000 years when the Lapita people emigrated from Southeast Asia via the Malay Islands to Polynesia. The Tonganese monarchy, which is similar in structure to those of Europe, is more than 1000 years old. The first contact with Europeans took place in the 17th century. The famous mutiny on the HMS Bounty took place near the island of Tofua in the Ha’apai archipelago.

Tonga-Vavau Islands

Territory properties

The trade winds blowing at 13 to 18 knots from the southeast determine the weather on Tonga. The humidity is lower than elsewhere in the South Pacific. The temperature from May to September is between 18 and 25 ° C, from October to April between 24 and 32 ° C. The best sailing time is from May to November, as it rains heavily from December to March. The water temperature is pleasant. Storms are rare, the last hurricane occurred 20 years ago.
It is a light to medium weight yacht charter area.
The tidal range is no higher than one meter. The ebb and flow of the tide can cause strong currents between the islands. The tide tables available on all yachts should be used. Many islands are flat and not always easy to see, especially during heavy rains.
Sunsail’s base is on Neiafu, the main island of the Vava’u archipelago. The handover of the boat usually takes place in coordination with the arrival of the international flights. The anchorages in the bays and lagoons of the islands are usually between 5 and 15 meters deep. Popular anchorages are Neiafu (in front of the eastern city beach), The Courseway near the village of Toula, Pangaimotu, on the east coast of the island of Pangaimotu, Vaipuua, north of Mount Talau and many more. All of these are detailed in the materials you receive from Sunsail.
Nuku’alofu, the capital of Tonga on Tongatapu, can be reached with Air New Zealand flights via London, Los Angeles and Auckland to Tongatapu. A connecting flight with the national airline Real Tonga takes you to Neiafu, the yacht charter area in the Vava’u archipelago. The journey with a stopover takes about 2 days.