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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Destinations > Western Pacific
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Western Pacific Japan and islands west of Hawaii and north of the Equator


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Old 03-15-2010
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Any experience in Tonga?

I have been fascinated by the Tongan Islands for many months now but have never been. Has anyone been to Vava'u and seen what it's really like?
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Old 03-15-2010
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I have a friend that sailed there. He thought it was just the bees knees. Unfortunately he is now on house arrest. (Not smack daddy.) Anyway he said he plans to return some day, in his Westerly Pageant. I guess that is a testament to how great they are, wanting to sail all that way in a 23 footer! Of course he is a crazy old man who worked for years crabbing in Alaska.
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Old 03-16-2010
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thanks!

That's Awesome. I would love to get in touch with him. Does he get email, or do you know how I can contact him?
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Old 07-14-2010
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I lived in tonga for a few months in college (1991). Vava'u was awesome. It is every bit as beautiful as you might imagine and more. The people are very nice and if you make an effort to speak Tongan, they will open their hearts and homes.
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Old 07-14-2010
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Hope to be there in about 15 months if all goes well. Looking forward to it and many other spots between here and there.
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Tongan language: generally like Hawaiian, but without the harsh "iki" type of sounds.

Instead of "ma-halo", they say Malo e lelei ("malo-eh-lay-lay"). You can respond by saying "fefe hake" (fay-fay-hah-kay) which means "how are you?" and then they will often respond by saying "saipe" (sigh-pay), which means "fine". "thank you" is malo (mah-low); but better to say "Malo 'aupito" (mah-low auw-pee-tow) "thank you very much"

No such thing as a "howlie" in Tongan. Instead, white people in Tonga are called "Palangi"..which (roughly) means "the people in white ships"

Tonga (as the Tongans will tell you), is also known as the "friendly islands" because captain Cook et. al were heavily feted during their visit, while the Tongan princes argued (behind the scenes) as to the best way to kill Cook and all his men and take their ships. They never could decide, and Cook sailed away before they could kill him. In the meantime, everyone had a really good party; so not a total loss.

some resources for the language:
Tongan language learning games

Useful Tongan phrases

Tonga: Important Phrases - TripAdvisor
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Old 12-12-2010
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Vava'u has some great sailing and the nicest people in the world. Watch out for the feasts, however--if the pig that comes out of the underground oven doesn't have a head, its a dog.
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