As all the guidebooks will tell you, life is rather slow in Tonga. On top of that, it's been raining a lot for the last few days, so we really haven't done much.
Looking back to our last week in Ha'apai and Matafonua lodge on Foa island, the biggest highlights for me were the natural beauty of a small tropical island, the roaring ocean (I used the earplugs for the last few nights - it was sooo loud) and the wonderful people we've met on our way:
# we've made friends with Jay and Susan, who usually spend half of their year on the Ice in Antarctica. We've held a few intense TAKI championships prior and after Sally's wonderfully prepared dinners with Elvinas smashing us all with no mercy. Thanks again to Amit and Zrinka for a great game - we love it!
# it was great to meet Darren and Nina with their 3 children, who have chosen Tonga over Florida and are currently operating the Happy Ha'apai Divers base. Discovering the underwater world with them, diving through the volcanic caves, looking for sharks with plastic bottle sounds was a lot of fun (and some healthy adrenaline for me). Elvinas has made good friends with their eldest JJ, so the boys had a great week full of creative games like catching fairies with plastic bags (for some secret mission), repairing boats in their own weird ways and filling them with crabs, etc. Unfortunately I do not have Elvinas permission to post their pictures, but instead at the bottom of this post you can see the amazing video of JJ swimming with whales, which we've missed on Tongan shores by only a week or two.
# and then we've met Karen and Frank, who've set off for a 5 year long expediton around the world on their beautiful catamaran, Tahina, which is more spacious than our Windermere apartment, I believe. Frank flies a kite to make high resolution aerial pictures, which are later uploaded to Google Earth by Google Geo team. He is really passionate about Google products and knows a lot more about some of them than I do (check out his Google Earth blog, launched much earlier than Google launched its own!), so we've also had some geeky moments exploring our Android phones and interesting apps.
I've also enjoyed snorkeling, beautiful sunsets, morning yoga in the wind, helping Elvinas with his studies on our porch, Sally's dinners, visiting Pangai on the back of Darren's truck, a tour in Tahina and a lot more. I only managed to read a hundred pages or so of my Happiness project book. So all in all it was a great week!
My son JJ age 4 and daughter Abbie age 3 first whale encounter from Darren on Vimeo.