Sun. May 19th, 2024

By Samuel Strait – April 29, 2024

On my last night in Niue, I find myself in a repeating pattern over the last two weeks, up to see the sun rise on the eastern side of the island, a bit of a swim in one of the isolated tide pools or over at Limu before heading to Fana’s for breakfast.  If I end up south of Alofi, the nation’s capital city, I generally will stop at my abode for a quick helping of scrambled eggs, toast, and a few strips of bacon.  I  know, sorry Dr. Caldwell, I’m on vacation.  Then on to the more adventurous side of things with the Sea Trek of the day, gets my sweat up no matter how many steps it takes to get down to the reef that surrounds the island.  Got to work off that breakfast after all.

Alofi, Niue

There are fifteen sea treks around the perimeter of the island, each a visual treasure, no matter how many steps it takes to get to the bottom of each, and back up for that matter.  Sometimes a tiny beach of white coral awaits, other times the breaking surf over the reef, and other times a cave or fantastical rock arch is there to greet you.  What continues to amaze me is that for centuries these narrow treacherous pathways were the only access that each village had to the ocean and were launch points for fragile single person outriggers used to fish the nearby waters.  Scary just to think about launching and returning at most of the sea treks.

Water for the islanders was originally caught from rooftops until a few fresh water chasms were discovered.  Most were not convenient to all the villages around the island, but the few were accessed and water was carried in coconut shells to supply the nearest villages.  While I have ventured down each of the three precarious stairways to the water source, I can’t imagine the skill it must have taken to return to the surface with any water left in a coconut shell.  That, and when they were accomplishing the feat, there was no modern stairway to the pools.  Recently it was discovered that a giant lake of fresh water was eighty meters down in the core of the dormant volcano that makes up the island that supplies the residents with free drinking water.

Anyway back to lunch, a refreshing swim after the hike, and a nap before dinner.  Most days I take the short drive from Avatele, where I am staying, into Alofi for dinner, then find a choice spot to watch the sun set. 

Back to my accommodations for the binoculars, then wait patiently for the stars to come out.  Being a “Dark Sky Nation” Niue’s night time sky is awesome.  If I get there soon enough, I can also double dip while watching islanders catch a fish for dinner.

While I can’t say that this kind of vacation is for everyone.  Not much in the way of variety or nightlife, but there is plenty to do each and every day.  Snorkeling, golf, lawn bowling, and an even odds chance of getting my head knocked off in a pick up game of rugby.  Not for the faint hearted, and they went easy on me.  Something like playing football without all the padding or helmet.  Yikes!

While I am reluctant to pick up and move on, my time is up here and it’s on to the North Island of New Zealand for a few more days of exploring this part of the world before heading home.  I wish that I had allowed more time for this part of the trip, but _______I  can always come back.  Maybe next spring.  

Liz and Randall Haines, my hosts at the Breeze, are awesome and the accommodations are the best on the island, at least so I have been told, better than staying at the island’s only resort.  I can’t say I disagree in the slightest.  Kia monuina.  Somebody at the Washaway asked me today if I lived here, if only that was true.  They certainly know how to treat visitors.

Back to Auckland in the morning, then another report before I leave the South Pacific this time around.  The South Pacific is already calling my name. 

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