Lin and Larry Pardey share their latest cruising perspectives
with us. Enjoy.

has been 23 years since we last voyaged across the Pacific. Though we
decided to go off the beaten track a bit to visit some spots we missed
back then, we also couldn’t resist re-visiting some of our favorite
places along the so called, “Milk Run.” The first of those
was Apia in Samoa (Called Western Samoa by many visitors, but known
as “The real Samoa” to the local folks.) The second was
Nuiatoputapu an isolated island at the north of Tonga. The third was
the Vavaú group of Tonga. None has been a disappointment, Nuiatoputapu
had no café’s, no shops, and offered little other than
a fine anchorage with firm sand and no coral heads and a fully protecting
coral reef plus warm welcoming people who were eager to share their
abundance of fresh tropical fruit with the very few visitors who dropped
anchor in their fish laden lagoon. (We were the second yacht to visit
this island when the Australian Navy blasted a pass through the fringing
coral reef into their lagoon in the mid 80’s).

Today maybe 40 or 50 yachts stop here for a few days on their way to
the bright lights of the Vava’u group 160 miles to the south,
yet little has changed – there are four very tiny shops with extremely
limited supplies and no electricity to keep cold items. There is a better
medical clinic with a full time nurse and dentist practitioner, even
a simple telephone system. A supply ship comes once a month or so and
only an occasional charter brings an airplane here. The local folks
still are warm and welcoming to everyone who stops and comes ashore
but bureaucracy has lifted its head a bit and now there are a lot of
papers to be filled in on arrival and fees amounting to about $45 US
must be paid to cover your time through out Tonga.