We shared a rental car with Marcy & David from Nine of Cups last Thursday for a tour of the “Caves, Caverns & Chasms” of Niue. What amazing sights there are to see here. Because the island is relatively soft limestone, the ocean chews into the cliffs and leaves behind beautiful caves and chasms. There are trails that lead down to the shore from alongside the perimeter road around the island. Some of the trails were 5-10 minute walks, and a few were good hikes through the woods. We spent the entire day making the circuit and visiting all of the sites, which you can see on Rob’s pictures in our photo gallery. Definitely a unique and lovely place to visit. The highlight is a place called Togo (pronounced tongo) Chasm, which is just surreal. You descend down a long ladder to a sandy beach with palm trees that’s at sea level, but is enclosed by towering rock walls. Very strange to hear the ocean roaring just outside the wall you’re standing next to.
Friday morning we finally got in the water with Dive Niue and our pal Neville from Dreamtime for two dives. The first was around the southern end of the island at a site named Gotham City, where there are some sort of batfish we didn’t see. It was a beautiful dive to a dropoff where the wall is covered with healthy and prolific hard corals. The cyclone in 2004 wiped out what little soft corals were here, but the hard corals in some of the bays survived just fine. It was pretty rough getting in with substantial surface chop, but once we descended we found a gorgeous dive site. After that dive we went into another bay further north where the waters were calm and we “swam with dolphins”. We weren’t really swimming, we were hanging on to the side of the dive tender with our faces in the water as she drove slowly behind a big pod. It sounds hokey but it was kinda fun actually. I’ve never seen the dolphins from that view before and it was neat to watch. After our surface interval (required time between dives) we went for our second dive at the site called “Snake Gulley”. This is where the poisonous sea snakes hang out. Don’t know why we had to dive with poisonous things, but apparently they only get aggressive and bite during their mating season, which doesn’t happen to be this week. There were some underwater caverns and caves that we swam through and into, which was also fun and interesting.
We’ve been pondering another dive here in the harbor, but the water temp is too cold to dive without wetsuits. We were going to dive with Dive Niue again yesterday but a substantial southwest swell is running into the bay we would dive in, so all dives were been canceled. Instead, Rob went ashore and get our zarpe. It’s only about 300 miles to Tonga and there are nice light winds forecast for the remainder of this week that we will take advantage of. This stop at Niue has been a highlight of our South Pacific transit and we’re glad we got to spend the time seeing the island and enjoying the hospitality of both the Kiwis and Niueans. Our only disappointment has been that our friends Jeffrey & Nicole from Seattle were supposed to meet us here but it sounds like she’s pretty much chained to her desk at Boeing until the 787 gets in the air, so they had to cancel. Hopefully it’ll work out next time, because this is definitely an island we’d like to visit again.
Today on Yohelah we’re watching the supply ship unload as we prepare to drop our buoy and set sail for the Kingdom of Tonga….
Niue is here