Oyster World Rally 2017 – 2019

A Choice of Islands

The Cook Islands, Palmerston, Nuie or Samoa – which island to visit en route to Tonga from French Polynesia? The accounts from those who chose to free cruise are mesmerising. We have included one account from Oyster 45 Vela who visited Nuie  – one of the smallest countries, and one of the largest raised coral atolls on earth.  Click here to read more >>

Tonga – The ‘Friendly Islands’

The fleet then had to negotiate some strong winds and short seas for the last few days before reaching the welcome sheltered waters of Vava’u, the most northerly island group in Tonga.

Tonga have been named  the ‘friendly islands’ and despite the copious amounts of rain that the fleet have had to endure spirits have not been dampened. The most adventurous amongst the fleet have taken it upon themselves to try their hand at cave diving or swimming with the humpback whales – many describing this as a great privilege to be swimming with the most amazing mammals that travel over 5000km each year to birth, nurse, court and mate.

Another party has been thrown. The yachts navigated their way through the shallows and coral reefs to the uninhabited island of Kenutu, on the eastern side of the Vava’u Group. Here the fleet were treated to a spectacular Tongan feast, fire-juggling and Tongan dancing around a large bonfire until the early hours.

Bula from Fiji

The fleet have now reached Fiji, a group of 322 islands, of which only 106 are inhabited. The Fijian islands are recognised as one of the most beautiful locations on earth, remote tropical islands, scattering the pristine southern Pacific Ocean.

The Rally fleet had a special arrival in the Lau Group – the most eastern of the Fiji Island chain. Until recently these islands have been off-limits for yachts but special arrival arrangements can now be arranged by flying in customs, immigration and quarantine officials.

Villages in Fiji still run on very traditional lines and any newcomers are required, or even obliged, to attend a formal welcome to the village called a Sevusevu, overseen by the village chief and elders. In the whole of the Lau group there are no shops and no tourists so visitors are rare and a great fuss is made. A traditional kava welcome ceremony is prepared requiring everyone to sit in a circle and watch the kava drink being prepared by pounding the kava roots and mixing with water in large wooden bowls. Speeches of welcome are made and everyone is invited to drink the freshly prepared kava from a coconut shell. Only after the welcome is complete are the ‘visitors’ invited to swim, fish in their waters and walk around the village. The ‘visitor’ are no longer strangers and can now join the villagers for an evening of singing and dancing and a great feast cooked in the traditional underground oven. The Oyster World Rally fleet have described this as one of the ‘most memorable and humbling experiences to date.’

For more images from the beautiful Fijian islands click here >>

The fleet now have several weeks to explore this beautiful island group before heading south. Next stop, New Zealand.

We will report back again soon, in the meantime you can track the Oyster World Rally fleet here: www.oysterworldrally.com.

 

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