August 2010
Niuatoputapu, Kingdom of Tonga

Written August 2010 Niuatoputapu, Tonga

When Mary & David of s/v Giselle asked us to bring supplies funded by the Rotary Club of Kirriemuir in Scotland to Niuatoputapu, we were happy to oblige. Since we were already in Tonga, we would purchase the supplies in the town of Neiafu, Vava'u and bring them with us when we sailed north.

We contacted everyone we knew with ties to Niautoputapu -- Tongans, cruisers who had recently been there, palangis (white foreigners) living in Vava'u -- and determined that the most necessary items were building supplies, tools, and fishing gear.

Lisa of the Tropicana Restaurant in Neiafu kindly offered to drive us around in her truck. And, since she knew most of the store owners in this small town, she was sure we'd get a discount because of the destination of the supplies.

Neiafu has only one fishing supply store. We emptied the place
of small hooks and weights. We also bought 2,000 meters of fishing line.
The owner added 30 squid skirts as our "discount".

Shopping with Lisa in the 'big' hardware store.

This Tongan gave us a good discount. He told us he
was on school holiday from a university in California -- not
far from where Bruce grew up.

Now let's get all the gear out to the boat.

Migration under sail. Our voyage north from Vava'u
to Niautoputapu wasn't this calm. It was actually quite bouncy and
wet. But fast! We zoomed along and arrived 25 hours after our

This map shows where Niuatoputapu is in relation to the the other
island groups of Tonga (as far as you can get from the capital in Nuku'alofa),
and how close it was to the earthquake which created the tsunami.
The white line represents Migration's passage from Neiafu.


Though it's been almost a year since the tsunami, there were still many people living in tents
or temporary shacks. A Red Cross ship had arrived a few days before with wood for one-room pre-fab
houses. There was a great deal of building going on.

There is plenty of evidence of the devastating
power of the tsunami.

The northeast point of the island was lush
forest before the wave. Now it is a coral-strewn
graveyard of trees. After 11 months, low shrubs
have a foothold.

Something you don't see every day -- pigs
foraging on a coral reef.

The Supplies:
452 Fish Hooks sizes 9-14
172 Ball Sinkers
1000 meters 15 lb Line
1000 meters 50 lb Line
30 Octopus Skirts
9 Screwdrivers
1 Crescent Wrench
2 20 Wood Saws
6 Claw Hammers
1 Four-piece Chisel Set
1 Twelve-piece Chisel Set
2 pair Leather Work Gloves
4 Machetes
1 Twelve-piece Screwdriver Set
1,000 Pine Screws
5,100 2.85 mm Nails
2,010 3.75 mm Nails
1 Six-piece Knife Set
8 Seed Packets
3 Hula Hoops

(We also had 4 donated bags of clothing and 2 boxes of children's books).

On the advise of other cruisers who had delivered supplies earlier in the year, we contacted Father Lolesio,
the Catholic priest. He, in turn, contacted all the other priests and ministers of the island and they all met us on the
wharf. We loaded up the truck and set off to distribute the supplies to those they thought were most in need.

Father Lolesio Lakai, Catholic Church, Vaipoa
Rev. Nafetalai Fotu, Free Wesleyan Church, Hihifo
Tevita Lino, Church of Latter Day Saints, Hihifo
Rev. Maka Afei, Free Church of Tonga, Vaipoa
Rev. Brian Pulini, Seventh Day Adventist Church, Hihifo
Rev. Taufa, Free Wesleyan Church, Tafahi

Happy recipients of the supplies.

The hula hoops were an afterthought... but they were very popular!

The men rebuilding the fuel storage shed were happy to get more nails.

The last of the supplies went to the school.
This is Soane, the principal (with screwdrivers and
a box of nails).

Life goes on. The farms are well-tended, the building continues, and the people are happy.

And this is their view every day!

To the Rotary Club of Kirriemuir, thanks for
caring about people on the other side of the world.
And for giving us the opportunity to be a part of
this fine endeavour.

Best wishes,

Bruce & Alene
s/v Migration

To read more about the travels of Bruce & Alene aboard Migration, visit www.brucebalan.com/migrations.


Niautoputapu viewed from the
 peak of neighboring Tafahi.

How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
~William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

The whole worth of a kind deed lies in the love that inspires it.
~Anonymous, The Talmud.

He who bears the interests of humanity in his breast, that man is blessed.
~Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi



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