Day 7, Sunday, Feb 6, Nuku'alofa, Casual
Trip Start Jan 26, 2011
19Trip End Feb 13, 2011
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As Captain Oakland had mentioned in his Friday update, we Nuku' alofa had been originally advertised as a tender stop but we did pull up to a dock. Tonga, the last remaining monarchy in the Pacific, consists of 176 islands of which 52 are inhabited. The city population is about 22,400. Unlike our previous stops which were all volcanic islands, Tonga appears to be made up of coral reefs and the island is quite flat. It is now a Constitutional Monarchy but the current King has no heirs so the future is an open question
By law, Sunday's in Tonga are set aside for worship with all business ceasing. We were the first cruise ship in anyone's memory to visit on Sunday, and the people seemed quite excited to see us.
There were 3 tours but all were relatively similar with some island sights, a beach visit and refreshments. My tour, Houma Blowholes and Liku'alofa Beach left the ship at 9. There were 6 busses all small and apparently quite old. We started with a couple of stops in town, first at the Royal Palace then the Royal tomb. Both of these sites are closed to the public, but the Palace in particular has great views of the seas.
About 45 minutes into the tour we stopped at the Houma Blowholes. The beach there drops off sharply but only to a depth of about 6 feet and the shore is undermined in several places with some holes leading to the surface. The undermined sections caught a busy surf and sent water crashing through those holes with both a fine, scenic spray and some rather violent crashing.
We made another stop on the way to the beach for some "flying foxes" (large bats) hanging in some rather lofty trees
The evening entertainment was the Crystal Ensemble of Singers and Dancers with "Curtain Call" featuring the music of Broadway and the West End, with Evita, Mamma Mia!, and Cats predominantly featured.
For today's parting shot, I just visited a country that has gone in recent years from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. While there are some notable exceptions, the will of the people is generally continuing to spread through the world.