September 10, 2002
18º42.83S, 174º08.25W
Blue Lagoon, Vavu'a Island Group, Tonga

Birthday Boy and Germans Find Paradise in Tonga
By Lois Joy     



We first heard about the eccentric German, Friedel, from Rolf (who hails from Berlin), while we were enjoying a candlelight dinner at his Pua Tale Fusi waterfront restaurant in Neiafu. Rolf had sat at our table for awhile. "I can tell that you two appreciate good food," he said. "When you go out to the anchorages next week, you must go to the Blue Lagoon. The crazy German, Friedel, who runs the place, only cooks when he's in the mood or if he likes you-he's quite the character, but Gunter, you will be able to talk him into cooking for you. "

The following day, we searched for information in the Lonely Planet Tonga. "This lodge and restaurant has six large fale beside a truly idyllic beach on Foe'ata. Constructed from local materials, each fale is unique and built around its immediate environment. Part eco-lodge, part eccentric dream resort (some of the bathrooms are particularly wacky), it offers reputedly the best food in Vava'u. It's already popular with yachties and boat trippers….offers glorious white beaches and good snorkelling in a secluded atmosphere. At low tide, it is a simple walk across a sand bar to Foelifuka." That did it. We had to go there.

"I'd like to treat you for dinner there for your birthday," I said. As we departed from Anchorage #7, happy and contented from our wonderful stay there, (that's yet another story) we looked up Blue Lagoon in our "Cruising Guide to the Kingdom of Tonga" published by the Moorings.

"It says that it's only a day anchorage," cautioned Gunter. "Maybe it will have to be lunch."

"But remember what the New Zealand couple at Barnacle Beach said the night of the Island Feast," I reminded him. "They said that it seemed plenty safe for evening stay, and thought that Moorings was only being extra cautious in protecting their own charter boats."

"Let's check it out, and then decide," said Gunter. "After all, how could he have the best food in Vava'u Group if yachts couldn't stay there overnight?"

On the morning of Gunter's birthday, September 9th, we motored for eight miles through an array of sheer cliffed islets and palm-topped islands with sandy beaches glowing like gems in the sun-as beautiful as any I've seen anywhere in the world.

"This is a day of bliss." said Gunter contentedly. "I like birthdays."

"And you don't even have to help with the lunch or dishes, and we'll have dinner out," I answered, kissing the Captain.

We entered the Blue Lagoon from the east, passing over the three-fathom mark lying between the southern fringe reef of Hunga Island, passed around the two marked coral heads, with the sunlight at our backs, so that, from the bow, I could make out the brownish colors of the reefs through the emerald waters of the lagoon. Perfect timing! We congratulated ourselves. We wound around the rest of the reefs and could now see the blue tarp of the Blue Lagoon Restaurant on the hill above the long, sandy shoreline.

"Drop anchor in the protected SE corner in about 15 feet of water," the Moorings Guide instructed. "I think that's at high tide or something," I called out. Looks very shallow now, with another greenish-brown reef in the middle."

"Look, there's a mooring," said Gunter. "Let's stop and call on VHF 16."

We both tried to call, but the response was muddled. We could only make out the words, "anchoring ball."

"He must mean for us to pick up the ball," said Gunter. I tried for the ball three times, becoming more frustrated each time. Even with our new extra-long bamboo boat hook, made especially for us in Aitutaki, I could not grab the line beneath the ball and there was no convenient loop to put our mooring line through, as was usually the case. Gunter tried once, with the same negative result. Finally, we succeeded, and carefully put two lines through to form a bridle between the two bows of Pacific Bliss.

We looked around us. On all sides were reefs, and the charming little island of Foe'ata didn't protect much from the ESE winds. If the winds changed, there would be less protection. "Let's continue to keep our options open," said Gunter.

"Right. I think we should not have lunch and a siesta as usual, but go on shore first. Perhaps it will be a birthday lunch instead of dinner that Friedel will be making," I replied. "But he should know how safe this is here."

   Gunter with Mermaid

                                                                       Funky Stairs to Beach

                            Flowers,Crystal and Candles

                                                           Friedel Lois Ma'ata with Mermaid          

               Gunter Cutting Cake


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