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Old 26-02-2016, 19:24   #1
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Charter in Tonga

I feel like I have returned home.... returning to this set of forums. it has been so fun catching up on everyone's experiences, have been living a little land locked in Oklahoma of all places rebuilding our business, after growing up on the Southern California coast and 12 years in Europe. Next year my husband and I celebrate our 30th anniversary. 20 years ago (believe it or not) I reached out to this community with the same question to celebrate our 10 year anniversary but we headed to Europe instead of the Pacific.

I am 20 years older so cannot remember the feedback.

We would like to plan a trip to Tonga and Charter a boat and sail until it isn't fun any more...(who knows might not come back ) I would love any input from those of you in the community.

Best time to Sail around Tonga
Recommended Charter companies
How long should we plan to be down there (I know most of you would say why would you want to limit your time?)

Any counsel would be appreciated.

Phyllis
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Old 28-02-2016, 15:12   #2
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Re: Charter in Tonga

HI Phyllis,


The charter area in Tonga as you no doubt know is Neiafu in Vava'u. So you have to fly from the main island to Vava'u.


So far as I know the only place you can charter from is Sunsail/the Moorings (both belong to the same owner).




We have used Sunsail twice in Tonga and have to say we enjoyed both charters.


Do your own provisioning there. You can bring some food into Tonga (check with their website) but make sure it is well labelled with a supermarket like description on it. Bring your own wine/spirits if you can. Beer is however reasonably cheap.


The food that you can buy there is good quality but you will not get cuts of meat that you are used to. the fresh market is great. we use a taxi to pick us up, go to the market and then to the boat. It is cheap.


The Tongan people are wonderful. Make sure to go to church on Sunday (even if you are an unbeliever like me).


Happy to give you tips in a PM if that helps.


daniel
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Old 29-02-2016, 12:57   #3
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Re: Charter in Tonga

Though I've not chartered with Moorings in Neiafu, I've had to lean on them twice for assistance with projects (that got them nothing) and they've been wonderful.


I'm not a big fan of Vava'u, as popular as it is. I'd rather spend my time in the Ha'apai group, but to each their own. I don't know what Moorings' policy is concerning travel to Ha'apai.


Neiafu has a nice market. And, a well equipped hardware store as if right out of Mainstreet USA! As said, fresh food is inexpensive.


Cyclone season is November through May, so be careful.


If you go, there is a Hunga Tonga, a new volcano that's broken the surface. That would be a great visit!
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Old 29-02-2016, 14:34   #4
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Re: Charter in Tonga

Daniel and Tetepare
Thank you so much for the guidance it is appreciated. Sounds like our chartering options are narrow but that makes the choice easy. Great to hear that they are "GOOD PEOPLE" who will help folks out even when there is nothing in it for them.

Thanks for the counsel on Provisioning as well.

Tetepare - my husband would agree from that which he has read he thinks he would enjoy the Ha'apai Group of Islands most. I am assuming either way that one must charter up in Vava'u or do you have a charter company down in the Ha'apai group of islands that you would recommend.

Yes this is how unfamiliar I am with the region but learning. Good thing we have over a year to plan this trip. Our plan is to be there in June of next year to avoid all of the various weather challenges if possible

Any other guidance would truly appreciated.

Phyllis
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Old 29-02-2016, 14:43   #5
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Re: Charter in Tonga

Daniel and Tetepare
While I have you... I am going to put this out for the larger forum. Since you are both down in the region. If you have the choice to sail Vanuatu vs Tonga where would you spend your time? The husband mentioned last night that he is thinking about Vanuatu but that was the first I had heard him mention it, threw me for a bit of a loop. Any comparisons or suggestions for first time sailors in the region???

We have sailed off the California Coast a great deal and we have sailed through the Greek Islands That is the extent of our experience.

My husband was a Port Engineer In Alaska for what seems like a hundred years 100 years ago and we have lived on the Sea but our chartering experience is limited.
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Old 29-02-2016, 15:38   #6
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Re: Charter in Tonga

Pretty sure that you can't take a charter boat from Vava'u to Ha'apai and I don't think there is any chartering in Ha'apai. You could do a long charter and then fly or ferry to Ha'apai and get around the islands by local transport.










Wonderful people.
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Old 29-02-2016, 17:36   #7
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Re: Charter in Tonga

Daniel
Thanks that is appreciated.....
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Old 29-02-2016, 18:29   #8
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Re: Charter in Tonga

I am quite sure you can't take the charter boat to Ha'api group. And there's nuffin there. But maybe its gone industrialised since I was there

I have been to Vanuatu a few times and its much more touristed than Vava'u. So I would do Tonga.

Busy season for cruisers is May through September, that's also whale watching season.

I wouldn't go there in Cyclone Season, Nov through March.

September is really quite busy as cruisers wait for the weather window (October) to head east, or south to NZ. But they can be fun.
Quiet time, but in season, must be April, May
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