Lape Island is one of the small inhabited islands in the Vava'u group of Tongan Islands. We have been moored off that island most of the week and on Saturday night, the island hosted a traditional Tongan feast. The village has 32 persons – 16 adults and 16 children, a small school, a church and homes. The people are exceptionally friendly, though reserved. They invite people to this feast at no cost – though they accept donations towards a new dock they are trying to build. 94 cruisers or yachties as they call us, showed up for the feast. It was the largest number they ever had. The roasted two pigs and had more that 20 various dishes to share. There were several chicken and vegetable dishes, many fish combinations, the roasted pigs, breadfruit, a taro leave stuffed with corned beef and cooked in coconut milk (delicious!) and a variety of the root vegetables like manioc, yams and what they call figs. Prior to sharing their meal they sang a lovely hymn and offered grace in Tongan. Coconuts were cut open to drink and it was all served on these hand made plates from the trunks of banana trees.
The cruisers were generous with their donations and the village seemed pleased. It was a very fun evening with tasty and interesting new food and good friends.
We also did another great snorkel in the afternoon – a place the locals call "Coral Wonder" and came recommended by a gentleman from Lape island. It was a nice spot and we saw a sea snake – very pretty but very toxic! We also saw a colony of anenome fish, a "crown of thorns" starfish, interesting varieties of butterfly fish and some funky puffers. It was a very pleasant and interesting adventure.
This morning, we moved from Lape Island to a new spot near Matamaka Island. There is a small school on this island and we'll hopefully get ashore tomorrow morning to go visit the school which welcomes boaters. In fact, they have four moorings in the bay that the school has placed here to encourage visitors. It is $10 pa'anga a day for the mooring and the proceeds go to the school. We understand that the kids can see the moorings from the classroom and get excited when boats pull onto one of their moorings. Because it is Sunday and no school, they'll have to notice us in the morning. We have school supplies we'll deliver to the school.
It is still a bit cloudy – but the rain has held off for our snorkeling and the Tongan feast .
We have had to pull out some of our warmer clothes though, as it seems to be getting cooler – especially in the evenings.
There have been several earthquakes over the last week off Tonga but we have not felt anything – but thanks to all who've written us concerned for our well-being. All is well – but it is a bit scary thinking of this giant Tongan Trench underwater!