August 8, 2007

Niuatoputapu - Tonga

After a fast passage from Savai'i we passed Tafahi Island on starboard,
the so called "treasure island" and anchored in front of Niuatoputapu.

No phone, no internet, but 3 to 4 times a year a supply ship from
Nukalofa. This is Niuatoputapu with 1000 people, 70 living on the nearby
volcano Tafahi, which I climbed with Carlos, an Italian movie maker on
sailboat "baarca pulita".

Everything what they need, they get from the coconut tree and the sea.

When we went to the post office to send a letter they told us that the
next supply ship will come in some months. Changing some money was not
possible, because there was no money left.
The arrival of the supply ship is a big event. They are able to sell
there mats and to buy what they can not produce themselves. The mats are
made from the Bandanas tree and a traditional gift by a Tongan wedding.
Niuatoputapu is the only island in Tonga where they kept the tradition
to weave it. The men take the bark from the trees, the women boil and
bleach it in the sea and finally weave it to very nice and soft

A few days ago a man cut his food. He was lucky that the yacht Quest of
Auckland took him with his family plus the doctor 160 Nm South to the
next hospital. Now Elisabetha, the wife of Carlos, and Sabine, as a
trained Swiss nurse, were taking care for the patients. Fortunately we
have enough and good medication on both boats; thanks for your

There are one high school and 3 primary schools (one on Tafahi).
We have done presentations and workshops in all schools and helped
with school material. The principals gave us mats, provided us with
fruits and invited us for lunch.
The message of the student’s drawings during the TOPtoTOP solution
was the same like in Samoa: they think that rich countries
are producing global warming and they think that it is not fair that
they have to suffer because of more cyclones and sea level rising.

There are about a dozen sailing boats visiting this most remote place of
the kingdom of Tonga per year. Together with the high school student, we
started an initiative to keep the island clean: We made a dump for
the sailors, a clean up on a small island with other sailors, a dump in the primary school and a public clean up with all kids of the island.

Nearly every house has a solar panel (a project from "Aid New Zealand").
Unfortunately they have no voltmeter to maintain the panels and
batteries. TOPtoTOP gave them a meter and showed a chief how to use

Captain James Cook visited Tonga in 1773 and gave the archipelago the
name "Friendly Islands" because of the gentle nature of the Tongans he
encountered. It is true: We made a lot of friends and where invited
in their houses
. When we invited them on Pachamama they were very
The 1st of August was the National day in Tonga. We celebrated it on
Pachamama because it was also the National day in Switzerland.

The only shadow was the 1st "suicide" on the island. A 68 year German
came to the island about 6 month ago and stayed with a local family. His
body were found near the shore attached with a rope on a rock and the
same day he was buried. The passport and the credit card are still
missing. After his dead a letter showed up with his writing, where he
asked for help... Something stinks! We made some pictures of his ID and papers to email it to a German embassy as soon as we have internet access.

On Friday we arrived in Wallis (S13.17 W176.10), after a fast and not easy passage from Tonga (30 h for 220 Nm). Michel Soula welcomed us on his VHF radio. Today he already organized the local TV station for Monday and a school presentation on Thusday.

(Numbers = pictures coming soon as we have internet access)

Posted by toptotop at 4:42 PM

August 24, 2007


Michel Soula our new TOPtoTOP member in Wallis was our 1st contact in Wallis. - If you want to say "hello" to our new member; here his email: He was monitoring channel 16 and gave us important information to enter the pass of the lagoon. He was our TOPtoTOP coordinator on the island and organized our presentation in the Lano college.

Thanks to Michel we met Pierre Gins of "voile pour tous". He is another good example on our expedition: He motivates the local children for sports and environment. Together with handicapped children we made a clean up on outlying islets.

The Wallis group consists of the main island of Uvea and 22 outlying islets enclosed within a single barrier reef that classifies the unit as an almost atoll. Wallis is unaffected by tourists because of their remoteness as well as the fact that they are a Polynesian group on the fringe of Melanesia. That they are French-speaking in an area of English-speaking neighbours seems to isolate them further.

During the start of the TOPtoTOP Climate Expedition we climbed in the Swiss department of "Wallis" Pointe Dufour 4634 m, the highest TOP in Switzerland. Now 4 years later we climbed Mount Lulu 147 m the highest TOP of the country "Wallis".

Thanks to our friends Chris and Fiona on SY Carelbi (at this moment sailing to Bali); we got in contact with Nicole and Francois Codinach. Francois is the only sergeant on the island. Thanks to him, Sabine was able to do a stage in the hospital and Salina was healed of her rash on the left leg.

On Pachamama the water maker is not working and we have a hard job to filter drinking water. Thanks to Michel and teacher Eveline and Etienne Petit we were able to transport enough water to the boat for the next leg to Fiji.

On the passage from Niuatoputapu to Wallis we damaged our Genoa sail in a big blow. The vibration further damaged our lamps and radar system. Salina is my best personal climbing assistance. We couldn't fix the problem and have to climb the mast again in Fiji.

On the 22.8.2007 at 7.20 UTC we crossed the meridian 180 E/W and arrived in Savusavu in Fiji at the 23.8.2007 at 7.20 LT.

Posted by dario at 1:47 AM