|THE VAVA'U ISLANDS
The Vava'u Group, 240 kms north of Tongatapu (capital of
Tonga), is comprised of some 50 bush-clad islands. These hidden jewels are protected from
the rolling waves of the Pacific by the semi-circular coral reef. The Vava'u Islands are
approximately 21 kms by 25 kms and paddling days can be short, leaving plenty of time for
fishing, snorkelling, beachcombing, visiting villages or just relaxing.
FLORA AND FAUNA
Vava'u's hilly terrane is blanketed by lush tropical
vegetation. Amongst its diverse lofty trees are the fragrant pandanus or screw pine, the
elegant casuarina, and the esteemed mulberry tree, the bark of which is used to make fine
quality tapa cloth. The islands also abound in fruit and nut trees, such as the
broad-leaved banana, the breadfruit tree, the telie or tropical almond, and the graceful
coconut whose plume-like heads provide welcome shade.
Vava'u waters teem with myriad fish, such as the tiny iridescent blue damsel and the gaily
coloured clown and parrot fish, that dart amongst multi-hued coral pinnacles. Bring your
snorkelling gear and experience the extraordinary underwater world. Kayakers may encounter
sea turtles, porpoises, humpback whales, flying foxes and a variety of curious seabirds.
The climate of Vava'u is very pleasant, being
slightly cooler and less humid than most tropical areas. From May through December the
mean temperature is 22°C degrees and the mean humidity 74%. Trade winds usually build in
the afternoon to 12 - 15 knots.
While on tour you experience a Tongan Feast of roast suckling
pig plus local vegetables, octopus, reef fish, and tropical fruits such as papaya in
coconut milk steamed in an underground oven ("umu"). The gastronomic delight is
accompanied by a traditional Tongan song and dance performance. Other meals on tour are
supplemented by fresh seafood, local produce and other delights.
SAFETY AND EQUIPMENT
The fleet of quality single and double kayaks has been chosen
with stability, sea-worthiness and proven past performance in mind. All kayaks, complete
with sprayskirts, life vests, paddles, bilge pumps and charts are maintained to the
highest standards. Friendly Island Kayak Company conforms to the safety guidelines of the
Trade Association of Sea Kayaking (TASK - North America) and the Sea Kayak Operators
Association of New Zealand (SKOANZ).
Currently the Tongan Government is making moves to designate
this unique island group the Pacific Islands' first World Heritage Site. Friendly Islands
Kayak Company are privileged to have been granted permission to conduct tours in this very
Situated roughly about 120 kms south of Vava'u, the Ha'apai's are quite different from the
Vava'u Islands in that they are true archipelago about 45 kms in length with expansive
white-sand beaches, low coral islands, towering volcanoes, and colourful lagoons and coral
reefs. Not only will you be struck by the natural beauty of these islands, but you will
find the inhabitants to be the friendliest folk in the kingdom! Moreover, village life is
slow and relaxed - much like it was 100 years ago. And because foreigners are rare in
Ha'apai they are welcomed with open arms by the locals.