Day 7, Sunday, Feb 6, Nuku'alofa, Casual

Trip Start Jan 26, 2011
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Trip End Feb 13, 2011


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Flag of Tonga  , Tongatapu,
Sunday, February 6, 2011

While I rose about 5am as usual, due to some medication requirements I took my first 6 laps before visiting Keith in the fitness center and getting my first cup of coffee.  My walk resumed at 5 miles with my knee feeling pretty good.  I believe the healing process actually starts about 3 days after an injury and seems to be starting to kick in.  The early morning weather was pleasant, although there were periods of heavy rain later in the day.

As Captain Oakland had mentioned in his Friday update, we Nuku' alofa had been originally advertised as a tender stop but we did pull up to a dock.  Tonga, the last remaining monarchy in the Pacific, consists of 176 islands of which 52 are inhabited.  The city population is about 22,400.  Unlike our previous stops which were all volcanic islands, Tonga appears to be made up of coral reefs and the island is quite flat.  It is now a Constitutional Monarchy but the current King has no heirs so the future is an open question.

By law, Sunday's in Tonga are set aside for worship with all business ceasing.  We were the first cruise ship in anyone's memory to visit on Sunday, and the people seemed quite excited to see us.

There were 3 tours but all were relatively similar with some island sights, a beach visit and refreshments.  My tour, Houma Blowholes and Liku'alofa Beach left the ship at 9.  There were 6 busses all small and apparently quite old.  We started with a couple of stops in town, first at the Royal Palace then the Royal tomb.  Both of these sites are closed to the public, but the Palace in particular has great views of the seas.

About 45 minutes into the tour we stopped at the Houma Blowholes.  The beach there drops off sharply but only to a depth of about 6 feet and the shore is undermined in several places  with some holes leading to the surface.  The undermined sections caught a busy surf and sent water crashing through those holes with both a fine, scenic spray and some rather violent crashing.

We made another stop on the way to the beach for some "flying foxes" (large bats) hanging in some rather lofty trees.  They were inactive, and perhaps 5-7 pounds each.  I would think these nocturnal animals are a welcome sight since they eat rather large quantities of insects.  I did not find Liku'alofa Resort terribly impressive but it had a nice beach and some pleasant places to sit.  Around 11:30 we were called to our celebration.   After Pastor Voosen led us in grace we started with refreshments of fresh tropical fruits.  We were treated to a performance by about 30 young (probably ages 15-30) singers doing several of the local holy songs.  After the performance we returned to our busses and returned to the ship about 1PM with a brief stop at a local cemetery.  Much like Rarotonga most people are interred near the surface in crypts above ground adorned by headstones and mounds of coral, rock, and soil.  An afternoon walk would have been nice but did not happen between several afternoon showers and a good morning walk.  Mid-afternoon proved to be a good time to relax and freshen up before tea time in Palm Court, Pastor Voosen's Sunday service, sailaway (in a driving rainstorm) and a lovely dinner (Prime Rib for me) in the main dining room. 

The evening entertainment was the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers with "Curtain Call" featuring the music of Broadway and the West End, with Evita, Mamma Mia!, and Cats predominantly featured.

For today's parting shot, I just visited a country that has gone in recent years from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy.  While there are some notable exceptions, the will of the people is generally continuing to spread through the world.

Roy
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Comments

Brett on

The King's brother ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho was confirmed as the King's heir and his children now assume their place in the succession after their father.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/'Aho'eitu_'Unuaki'otonga_Tuku'aho

rafinmd
rafinmd on

Thank you.

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