“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” -Henry Miller
A few months ago I’d never heard of Niue and our guidebook only bothered to give it a few pages of note. It’s the world’s smallest independent nation and “the rock” of Polynesia, whatever that means. So I wasn’t really expecting much. It’s a difficult place for sailors to go because of unprotected anchorage. If the westerly winds start to blow, you often need to take off. After days sailing here I really didn’t want to have to leave right away. It did hold out and we were lucky, because Niue was great. It had really interesting geology being formed from limestone and there were caves riddled throughout the island.
We rented a car for four days and on my 33rd birthday we checked out some caves, went for a snorkel or two, had a picnic on the beach (treated ourselves to a big salad, olives and oranges) and Ez bought me ice cream. It was such a nice birthday! When I woke the Swedes sang happy birthday to me (in Swedish) and gave me a gift that they knew I’d love (a bag of chips). Later they gave me the night off from cooking and we all ate the chocolate cake I’d baked myself (I finally put my cake decorating classes to use).
Sailing in the first day we saw whales along the coast. Niue is known for having humpbacks and one night their song woke us up below in our cabin! There are only three places you can swim with humpbacks and Niue and Tonga are two of them. This activity was not really in our budget but I sold a kidney and we did it anyway. Of course the morning before and after the tour we saw whales near our anchorage. Guess how many we saw on our tour? Nada, nothing, zilch. We did see some dolphins and sea snakes while snorkeling at least.
Other days we visited an old abandoned village, walked a bunch of sea treks, stopped to watch rugby, visited some chasm, rock arches, a funny sculpture garden made of junk, a couple markets, more snorkeling and more caves.
We also made some new friends, Duncan and Jess. They came over for dinner one night and another night had us all over. It’s interesting meeting other sailors and seeing what their style of sailing is. They use some of the old school methods that Ez and I are interested in learning and they had some interesting experiences. We were very happy to meet them.
Its hard to recap Niue because I feel like so much happened while we were there. We spent about a week and I still felt rushed trying to see everything in this beautiful gem of an island. The new Zealand government is trying to promote tourism in the country so maybe we will all hear more about it in the future.