A Travellerspoint blog

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VANCOUVER, BC, CANADA

ALL ABOARD TODAY!

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We flew from Logan Airport, Boston to Montreal, leaving home at 3 a.m., and then had a 5-hour layover. We eventually arrived in Vancouver and our hotel, the Auberge, at 5 p.m. The hotel is an 8-minute walk from the cruise port.

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From voyage to voyage we forget how to create the blog – good thing Hästa remembers!

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A few short blocks from our hotel is Mario’s – where we were greeted by the owner and had a perfect breakfast.

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The misty mountains and the Volendam, as she disembarks guests and awaits her new voyagers

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Posted by Swenigale 16:05 Archived in Canada

Sept. 30 – SAN FRANCISCO

A PEEK AT THE CITY BY THE BAY

semi-overcast 60 °F
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After sailing under the iconic Golden Gate Bridge,

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…we entered San Francisco Bay as the clouds were lifting over the skyline.

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We slowly cruised past the infamous Alcatraz Prison Island.

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Pelicans in formation made fly-bys all day long – here the skyline is reflected on the windows of the Volendam’s Navigation Bridge.

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Following the Barbary Coast Trail at the water’s edge

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Famous Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39

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Who knew, San Francisco has an Emperor of the Harbor 😊

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And of course, Pier 39 is famous for its colony of Sea Lions.

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Males can grow up to 750 pounds and 7 feet long, females 220 pounds and 6 feet long – some of these look pretty alert…..

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Others, not so much!

Posted by Swenigale 20:52 Archived in USA

Oct. 2 – SAN DIEGO, CA

SUNSHINE IN SAN DIEGO

sunny 70 °F
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A bird’s eye view

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Planes land near where we are docked, overlooking the Ship Museum.

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We are tucked right in with U.S. Navy ships,

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Closely docked by the USS Midway, now an excellent museum.

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Look for that famous welcome home statue.

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A trolly turns in the Gaslamp Quarter

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Check out the pigeons!

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What! KC Barbeque… in California!

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Classic scenes from the 1986 movie “Top Gun” were filmed right here in this diner.

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This monument on the “Walk of the Greatest Generation” honors the USS San Diego, commissioned in the Boston Navy yard, in January 1942, built in Quincy, Mass. by Bethlehem Steel. In all their many engagements they never lost a man to enemy action.

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Almost home

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Our Port Pilot from San Diego has done his job and has left us ….

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…with our final sight of land. Now we sail to Hawaii. It will take 5 days sailing at 16 knots (18.4 mph). And we’ll love every minute. 😊

Posted by Swenigale 22:16 Archived in USA

Oct. 8 – HILO, HI

FIVE DAYS VOYAGING TO THE BIG ISLAND

semi-overcast 82 °F
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We enjoyed the music of “Classical Duo” before dinner each evening.

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Captain Paul Adams at the helm - he was also with us last winter in the Antarctic, as one of two “Ice Captains”.

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Unique to Holland America, this talented ensemble wowed us with variations on the classics. There were standing ovations at all 4 outstanding performances.

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Land, ho! We approached Hilo at 7 a.m. The town is located on the northeastern side of the Island of Hawaii.

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Ten years ago we stayed for three wonderful weeks on the Island as we celebrated our son’s and his beautiful bride’s wedding with family and friends.

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Our helpful tugboat flies the State flag of Hawaii.

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Today is Sunday, and our service will be later today as guests head out early, eager to set foot on land again. Significant attractions include Rainbow Falls, Akaka Falls State Park, and the incredible Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

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Kids and fisherman on the breakwater

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The first Hilo inhabitants arrived from Polynesia around AD 1100 and lived along the rivers and along the shores of Hilo Bay.

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During our five days at sea, there were many talks about Hawaii and also an opportunity to learn to play the ukulele and do the hula….

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Culminating in the guests’ own Ukulele and Hula Show. A sight to behold 😉

Posted by Swenigale 00:31 Archived in USA

Oct. 9-10 –KAUAI, HAWAII, HI

CIRCLING “THE GARDEN ISLE”

semi-overcast 82 °F
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Our Captain decided itinerary and weather conditions would permit a rare cruise along Kauai’s “Jurassic Coast”, the Na’Pali coastline.

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We stay 1 mile away from these jagged peaks, the eroded remnants of volcanoes.

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These cliffs have been the backdrop for more than 60 Hollywood films.

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Jurassic World, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Avatar (2009), Jurassic Park (1993). Hook (1991), Raiders of the Lost Ark, Blue Hawaii (1961), South Pacific (1958) and Six Days Seven Nights to name a few.

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Watching the sun set – after our cruising among three of Hawaii’s islands (there are 8 main islands and a vast archipelago atolls that extends a thousand miles northwest).

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Nawiliwili, our port in Kauai

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What to say to the taxi driver if you are lost: “E ho’iho’I ia’u I ko’u moku”, (“return me to my ship”)😊

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Tours of Waimea Canyon and the Tropical Rainforests. (Look for Hästa in my hand.)

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Tonight’s appetizers: Maui Golden Pineapple with Pomegranate and Strawberry

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Also, Kauai – Style Poke….

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And our Main: Hawaiian Mahi-Mahi with ginger, cilantro, red rice, vegetable coconut stew – mmm.

Posted by Swenigale 19:09 Archived in USA

Oct. 11-12 –HONOLULU, OAHU, HI

2 DAYS IN HONOLULU

sunny 82 °F
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Our morning arrival in Oahu, docked not far from the Aloha Tower

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Today we walked inland, enjoying the cooling Trade Winds.

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The Iolani Palace is the only Royal Palace in the USA.

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King Kamehameha extends a greeting. (If you are a fan of “Hawaii Five-O”, you’ve met him before!)

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In the evening a local troupe entertained us with Polynesian songs and dances.

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A new day – a new direction – Waikiki Beach!

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Secure “parking” for your surfboard

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Awesome view of Diamond Head

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Me and Duke, the “Ambassador of Aloha”, who introduced surfing to the world

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Aloha, Hawaii!

Posted by Swenigale 00:04 Archived in USA

Oct. 16 –FANNING ISLAND, KIRIBATI

AS REMOTE AS IT GETS

semi-overcast 84 °F

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Seen from above, this is Fanning Island (It’s actually an atoll). We have sailed 1,000 miles from Honolulu and are in one of the most remote places on earth. It is the only country on earth that lies in all four hemispheres! The island nation of Kiribati is comprised of 32 atolls spread over 1 million square miles. The International Dateline has been moved around it to keep all of Kiribati on the same day.

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Unfortunately, this is as close as we got! The officials of Kiribati did not allow us to disembark. At the last minute, they informed our Captain that clearance officers on Christmas Island (which is part of Kiribati) could not get a boat or plane to bring them the 200 miles to perform clearance procedures on Fanning Island.

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Our Captain was not pleased. But, he kept the ship offshore all morning so guests could enjoy glimpses of the beautiful lagoon in the center of the atoll. The island (population 1,990) has no electricity or indoor plumbing and the residents live quite simply. I’m sure they were disappointed that we could not visit because it would have boosted their craft-based economy. Many guests had also bought school supplies and sundries as donations, but these too, could not be brought ashore.

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Our camera close-up shows the English Channel, a break on the other side of the lagoon where tenders would have entered as the ship floated offshore.

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Ed and I have been fortunate to visit Fanning Island in the past – so we thought we’d include a few photos from 21 years ago when we visited at precisely the same date in October!

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Yeah, it was that long ago!

Posted by Swenigale 01:02 Archived in Kiribati

Oct. 17 –EQUATOR CROSSING CEREMONY

KISS THE FISH

sunny 84 °F
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We have crossed the Equator! Behold, King Neptune! An old maritime tradition is to initiate those who cross the Equator for the first time into the Court of King Neptune in an elaborate ceremony.

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These newbies are called “Pollywogs”, and their first task is to “kiss the fish”! Which they do!

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Deckhands and staff are led by “Pirates” to be slathered with goo by our medical team and then presented to the Captain and Senior Officers for judgment.

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Thumbs down means – into the pool!

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Our Cruise and Travel Director also got dunked!

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Per tradition, “Pollywogs” become “Shellbacks” after crossing the Equator. But! Today we all became “Golden Shellbacks” because we crossed the Equator at the International Dateline! Wow!! 😊

Posted by Swenigale 02:33

Oct. 20 –PAGO PAGO, AMERICAN SAMOA

SOLID GROUND BENEATH OUR FEET

rain 80 °F
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Flashback! Ed and Miss American Samoa in 2019 😊

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We arrived today after many days at sea. It’s a misty, moisty morning.

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This is Tutulia Island, the gateway to the National Park of American Samoa.

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The first order of business – a haircut for Ed 😊

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Pago Pago (pronounced Pango Pango) is home to Starkist and Chicken of the Sea.

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We climbed the walkway to the Governor’s mansion -

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It brought us to this pretty lookout – but a closed gate protects the Governor from unwanted visitors (like us).

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Hästa amid the flowers; BTW – we will have no Saturday, Oct. 21st because we will cross the International Dateline…again. 😊

Posted by Swenigale 02:16 Archived in Samoa - American

Oct. 22 –APIA, SAMOA

SAMOA’S HARBORSIDE CAPITAL

rain 80 °F
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Rainy arrival – Samoa isn’t far from Pago Pago – however, since we crossed the Dateline, we had no Saturday and we arrived in Apia on – Sunday! Confused, yet?

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Does that laundry ever dry, I wonder?

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Samoans observe Sundays by attending worship services and limiting which businesses can be open. A main attraction which was closed today is the Robert Louis Stevenson home and museum where he spent the last four years of his life. He was well-loved by the Samoan people who called him “Tusitala”, meaning “Teller of Tales”. He was buried on Mt. Vaea, overlooking the city and the home he built.

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Immaculate Conception of Mary Cathedral (built in 1867 but rebuilt in 2014 after the 2009 earthquake)

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Hmm. Maybe it’s time for me to get a haircut!

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Shop Lady 😊

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We stayed close to the harbor to phone home and to prepare for the late afternoon church service onboard.

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Hästa looks longingly…

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Back to the Volendam for cool air and dry feet 😊

Posted by Swenigale 22:54 Archived in Samoa

Oct. 24 –SUVA, FIJI

THE FIRST OF OUR FOUR PORTS IN FIJI

semi-overcast 79 °F
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The flag of Fiji – the Union Jack symbolizes her ties with the United Kingdom and the shield is derived from the national coat of arms.
I must mention: Our son Paul is here on the same island in an odd and extremely unlikely coincidence! Cyclone Lula is threatening Vanuatu, where he was working on an assignment. This caused him to have to leave early, catching the last seat on the plane and then making arrangements to get back home, Figi being a stopover! Unbelievable!

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Our arrival in Suva, Fiji’s capital, was heralded by an excellent police band.

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This morning we decided to head for the mountains to hike the Colo-i-Suva Forest Park.

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Off we go!

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The main feature, other than possible bird sightings, was the ability to sort of, follow a waterfall! These are the Lower Falls, a delightful place to swim.

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….complete with changing room.

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Our guide, Ted

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Trails and rails

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Some bits are better than others

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We made it back in one piece – but failed to catch sight of (or even hear) the strangely named Barking Pigeon.

Posted by Swenigale 02:15 Archived in Fiji

Oct. 25 –DRAVUNI ISLAND, FIJI

“THE REAL FIJI”

sunny 75 °F
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Dravuni Island is part of an island group that lies within the Great Astrolabe Reef, one of the largest reefs in the world. Our ship is at anchor within the great circle, and the ship tenders transport eager guests to the idyllic sands. This is everyone’s picture of Fiji 😊

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It is less than 1 square mile, and fewer than 200 people call the island home.

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When ships come calling the islanders are very welcoming, eager to greet you with a friendly “Bula”.

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But the big draw is the beautiful ocean and white sandy beaches. Break out the snorkels and fins!

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But, forget the fish – we loved watching the chickens!

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One industrious mama was right next to our spot in the shade, scratching up some food for her chick.

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Hmmm -what’s this?

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Breakfast!

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We think the ship was smiling today. We know our captain was!

Posted by Swenigale 05:29 Archived in Fiji

Oct. 26 –LAUTOKA, FIJI

FIJI’S SUGAR CITY

sunny 79 °F
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We’re on the opposite side of the island from Suva today and the weather is beautiful!

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Lautoka is Fiji’s sugar port….

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….and is the second largest city.

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An unused train track runs through the town, a reminder of the city’s growth due to sugar production.

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Many sugar cane workers came from India and today the local culture is mixed Indian and Fijian.

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Here’s a photo from our 2011 visit to that same store 😊

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In 2016 we toured the Orchard Garden of the Sleeping Giant, once the private collection of American actor Raymond Burr.

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Our visit in 2019 included a walk to the Lautoka Club , a pub on a pier, with our favorite Hästa.

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In 2020 (everyone has a story of where they were when Covid hit) our World Cruise had some great ports before world transportation shut down. When we were in Lautoka that year we boarded a large sailboat to go to an off shore island to snorkel…..

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…..with Black-Tipped Sharks!

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We survived.

Posted by Swenigale 01:45 Archived in Fiji

Oct. 27 –SAVUSAVU, FIJI

FIJI’S HIDDEN PARADISE

sunny 82 °F
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This is Vanua Levu, Fiji’s second-largest island. Savusavu is just a small town.

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The huge bay is a sunken caldera that is so large and well protected by surrounding mountains that the US Navy chose it as a possible “hurricane hole” for the Pacific Fleet during the Second World War.

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We arrived at low tide, which would be a challenge for our snorkeling plans.

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We hired a taxi to take us along the coast to a good snorkeling spot called “Split Rock”.

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Low tide exposed the extremely rocky shore.

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Some of the rocks (the small ones) that were stuck in the bottom of my shoe!

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In spite of the difficult entry and exit today’s snorkel was undoubtedly a highlight! Following are a few photos from the internet of the beautiful coral we saw.

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A long swim and snorkel away from our point of entry we found “Split Rock” and many small “Sargent” fish.

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We made it back to the tender pier – with just a few scrapes 😊

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A view toward the distant shore and the location of our adventure.

Posted by Swenigale 21:49 Archived in Fiji

Oct. 30 –NUKU’ ALOFA, TONGA

“THE FRIENDLY ISLANDS”

sunny 80 °F
View Volendam South Pacific on Swenigale's travel map.

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There are more than 160 islands in the Kingdom of Tonga. This is the capital and chief port of the island nation.

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The Royal Palace faces the deep port

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Tonga is a Kingdom….

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….with a King!

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Hästa’s favorite flowers (he likes the color)

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The Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga

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The people of Tonga are deeply religious.

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??

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Ouch!

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Our long walk brought has back to the Palace gates – it is the home of the Royal Family, and not open for visitors.

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Posted by Swenigale 04:04 Archived in Tonga

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