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.
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.
French Polynesia covers a vast area in the South Pacific with 5 island groups spreading over more than 2000 kilometers. People often compare it to the size of Europe. Unlike the wide diversity of land animals in Colombia and Panama, French Polynesia has only a few and they’re primarily domesticated. The real action is in the water. In our year there, we had amazing marine encounters in French Polynesia. This post features our best videos and tips of where to spot marine life from The Marquesas to the Society Islands.
Fun with Marine Animals
One of the highlights of living on a sailboat traveling around the world is getting up close with marine animals. After over four years on board, spotting these animals in their natural habitat still gives us a thrill! Turtles, sharks, and dolphins have been regular sights since the beginning, and rays and whales are more common since we’ve hit the Pacific. The South Pacific, so far, seems more untouched than much of the Caribbean. We love spotting marine life in French Polynesia just as much as everywhere else and here are some highlights.
After spending so much time on land in Tahiti, we felt lucky to escape to its beautiful sister island, Moorea. Located 11 miles northwest of Tahiti, it is busy and tourist-filled, but still feels like a tranquil getaway. On two different getaways from Tahiti, we spent four weeks communing with the marine life in Moorea.
First, a little background. Like Tahiti and The Tuamotus, the island of Moorea is surrounded by coral reef, providing protection from big ocean waves. Moorea allows us to anchor in beautiful places with close proximity to shops, restaurants, and other amenities of civilization. One of the highlights is the marine life in Moorea.
Samaná is an oceanfront peninsula on the northeastern shore of the Dominican Republic. With a beautiful bay, islands, and a nature preserve nearby, there are lots of sights and activities to while away a couple weeks. Since our arrival on April 11th, we’ve found plenty of ways to have fun in Samaná.
Something about Samaná
We had read about Samaná before, in the book Pirate Hunters, a true story about divers who knew there was a hundreds years old wreck with treasure somewhere here. They spent years hunting it and… you’ll have to read the book to find out more.
That was all we knew about Samaná, and now we know so much more and have recommendations for those of you who will come here yourselves. We know how to have fun in Samana.
We have mostly anchored in our travels so far, and the marinas we have stayed in for a night or two have been acceptable. This place, though, is incredible. Besides the beautiful location, it has all the amenities and is so affordable. It’s not a bad place to wait for good weather: it’s amazing!
Whale watching is a pretty popular activity in Iceland. In Husavik and Reykjavik, boat tours seeking whales, dolphins, and puffins are commonplace. So, we did what the tourists do and spent Sunday whale watching in Reykjavik.
Where to take a whale watching tour in Reykjavik
There is a long pier down by the harbour where all the boats have offices and sell tickets for their tours. Besides whale watching and puffin hunting, you can also book a “Northern Lights” tour. The problem with that is, if it’s cloudy, as it often was for us, you aren’t going to see those lights on land or a boat. But people will pay, so they have the tour.