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Enjoying Time In The Kingdom Of Tonga

The Vava’u Island group in the Kingdom of Tonga is a spectacular tropical paradise in the Pacific Ocean.  For the last couple of weeks, it’s played host to the World ARC rally boats, who have been exploring the various anchorages across the 40 islands. 


Some islands are ringed by white sand beaches, while others have tropical forests, sea level caves, and dramatic limestone cliffs with breathtaking vistas. Highlights of the trip to Vava’u have included:-


Ene'io Botanical Gardens and Beac

The beautiful Ene'io Botanical Gardens have been lovingly cultivated by Haniteli who, along with partner Lucy, has given it over 50 years of conservation and natural growth, with the aim of creating the 22-acres into their personal ‘Garden of Eden’.


Haniteli, a retired Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, spoke proudly to the rally participants about his gardens, which have the largest and most varied plant collection in the Kingdom of Tonga, with over 650 different plants.

Everyone enjoyed the demonstration from Haniteli, showing how to make baskets and blinds from palm fronds and to turn a Tapa tree into garments, mats and tablecloths.  After a sumptuous lunch, the tour culminated with the local schoolchildren showcasing some of their traditional dances.


Bingo Fun

Possibly a first in World ARC history, but for one night only the rally participants got their ‘eyes down’ for a very entertaining 'Wags & Whiskers Bingo' session at The Kraken, all in aid of local animal charity Host a Vet- Vava'u, Tonga. 

Many admitted it was their first ever bingo session, but they had secretly always wanted to give this popular game a go.  There were many very triumphant shouts of “BINGO" as a result and it soon turned into a fun and raucous evening.


In between bingo sessions, the Host-A-Vet volunteers had a chance to chat about their charity.  In the absence of a vet in the Kingdom of Tonga, they work in partnership with NGOs to conduct veterinary clinics to help sick and injured pets as well as spaying and neutering, especially on the outlying islands

At the end of the evening, the World ARC cruisers raised almost US$2,000 for the charity.  Bodine Morey, Host-A-Vet, president was ‘absolutely delighted and extremely grateful’ for all the very generous donations, including from the many local businesses in Vava'u, who kindly gave prizes for the event.

Prizegiving Party

Mango Restaurant & Bar in Vava’u was the venue for a superb prizegiving party. A local band was playing and singing as the guests arrived and, with the sun setting across the anchorage, it was a spectacular setting.


For Leg 5, from Bora Bora to Tonga - which included a 72-hour stop in Niue - the awards were a mixture of fun placings and prizes, giving others in the fleet a chance to receive an accolade. 

The Pride of World ARC flag, was presented to the team of Fatjax, not only for their continued help and support within the fleet, but also as they were absolute troopers recently, assisting a boat with dinghy support while in Niue.

After a delicious buffet supper, there was an uplifting traditional Tongan dance show.

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