We Bought A Catamaran

After nearly five years on board Sava, Brian and I are making a change. We bought a catamaran and will sell Sava.

Our New Sailboat

We only recently started looking for a different boat. When we saw this sailboat, it was a go! We bought a catamaran; it’s a Leopard 43.

After almost five years and thousands of miles on board Sava, we’re ready for more space. A head for each of us plus one for guests. Lots of lounge space indoors and out. This boat provides all of it.

It’s also been lovingly maintained by its previous owners, is registered to Canada, and has lots of power. The decision to buy a catamaran was even quicker than when we bought Sava, which we never regretted.

Once we’ve moved aboard and made ourselves comfortable, I will post photos and more details.

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Best of French Polynesia

We were lucky to spend a year in French Polynesia, a beautiful and widespread collection of islands and atolls. While we didn’t improve our French language skills, we loved the excellent diving, hiking, and culture. From the Marquesas to the Tuamotus and the Society Islands, these are our best of French Polynesia.

About French Polynesia

French Polynesia has several island groups, but many visitors only go to the Society Islands. You’ve probably heard of Tahiti, Moorea, and Bora Bora. If you can, I recommend exploring the ones you haven’t heard about. The more remote archipelagos of the Marquesas and the Tuamotus are unforgettable. These island chains couldn’t be more different: the Marquesas are lush, mountainous, and full of vegetation. Conversely, the Tuamotus are arid atolls with limited land life and clear waters. We didn’t even make it to other parts of French Polynesia like The Gambiers and Australs. Read on for which locales we think offer the best of French Polynesia.

Best Hiking

Two islands in French Polynesia are our favorites for hiking. If you want to go hiking, visit Ua Pou or Moorea. Nuku Hiva also offers a good variety of hikes.

Some islands are just bad for hiking, full of private land and no paths for independent hikers, or they’re flat and featureless. In good news, most of The Marquesas islands have at least one or two hikes that are worth doing.

Ua Pou is good for hiking independantly, but for the big hike, hire a guide. All the hikes involve altitude, and everyone we know who did the cross-island hike alone got lost. The hills are high and the views are stunning, but there’s not much civilization so packing lots of water is a must for any of these treks.

Hiking in ua Pou best of French Polynesia
Stunning views hiking across Ua Pou
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Haapai Tonga

Without a doubt, our favorite part of Tonga was Haapai. We only had a week to spend in this beautiful island group but we enjoyed every minute. Once we found our anchorage, we loved it so much we didn’t move. If you ever visit the Kingdom of Tonga, don’t miss Haapai.

About Haapai Tonga

Ha’apai is pronounced “Ha a pie.” Located south of Vavau, the Haapai island group includes 51 islands plus atolls and coral reefs. We spent our week there in one perfect anchorage, and also walked to the main island a couple of times.

Sailboat anchored in beautifful waters in Tonga
Sava alone in her anchorage in Haapai

After weeks waiting in Vavau for a starting engine, Haapai was just what we needed! Less populated and quieter, we found it beautiful and relaxing.

We anchored by Foa island, home to two resorts and several beautiful beaches. Just south of Foa and across a bridge is Haapai’s main island of Lifuka and the port town of Pangai.

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Pigs of Tonga

Most people go to Tonga to swim with whales or just enjoy the beach. For us, a highlight of Tonga was the pigs and piglets. I took many photos of the pigs of Tonga, mostly in Vavau, so here is a short post compiling those images.

I like to document the different animals we see on our travels. The pigs of Tonga are nowhere near as dramatic or diverse as the animals of Panama or Colombia, but I never got bored of stopping to watch and photograph them.

Where to see Pigs in Tonga

We spent a lot of time in Vavau, and more than a week in Haapai, and saw pigs everywhere. Many live outside of town and spend their days wallowing in mud and eating whatever they can find in the grass and roads. Some of the pigs who live more remotely even venture into the sea, like the swimming pigs of Bahamas, only these pigs catch fish!

These pigs are well fed.

Pig, Tonga
A big pig in Tonga.
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The Best of Vavau

After a year in French Polynesia and a lovely but too short visit to Niue, we sailed to Tonga. Only a week after we arrived in Vavau, Tonga, we got stuck! Our starting motor died so while we waited for a replacement, we had a lot of time to explore and enjoy the best of Vavau Tonga.

About Vavau

Vava’u (pronounced va-vuh-ooh) is an island group in The Kingdom of Tonga, and the most popular area of the country for sailing. It consists of 50+ islands, the biggest of which is Utu Vava’u. This is where we spent several weeks on a mooring ball waiting for a new starting motor. On a boat, there’s always something that needs fixing! We maximized our waiting time by seeing the sights and visiting the bars and restaurants, discovering the best of Vavau.

You should know: In Tonga, churches are everywhere and Sunday rules are strict. No working. No tours on the water and no noise aside from singing in church. Fortunately, resorts and bars catering to tourists are open on Sundays, but not much else.

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