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Saturday we left for Hunga lagoon, an extinct and collapsed volcano crater and an extremely well-protected anchorage. The pass is tiny, maybe 35′ wide. In Hunga lagoon, we grabbed a mooring at Hunga Haven, a small home and business owned by Barry and Cindy, two expat Canadians. The moorings were cheap, the standard $15 TOP a night, and with no cell phone service you can buy wifi from them ($15 TOP for two hours).
Barry and Cindy, as well as their dog Rocky, were very welcoming. They’ve lived there for 4 years, starting on just a tent, while they built their home. They have an orchard, mostly full of papayas and pineapples. They also have two small fare, or outdoor sleeping rooms for rent.
The challenges Barry and Cindy faced getting their home up are astounding. They told us stories of getting proper supplies and tools here, sometimes shipped to Neaifu then to Hunga via a small transport boat and then via kayak to their house. They had to buy and install a repeater on a nearby island to get internet. I think it’s pretty neat to have a little safe haven and crushing outpost in the middle of nowhere.
Barry instructed us on hiking the island. We took the footpath to the ridge of the island, where there was a dirt road. One way led to town, about 20 minutes, and the other to the beach, about 25 minutes. We did both.
The town is just a handful of buildings; two churches, a community center and a school. Dogs and pigs run loose. The houses are small and bare. Rainwater cisterns provided by USAID provide public freshwater and solar panels donated from Japan provide electricity. We were at the village dock in time to see the ferry loaded up, looking terrifyingly top heavy, with people and even a piglet on a leash.
The beach is small and has a large swell ripping in. The rock has been carved by the wind and waves into interesting shapes. You can hike a little ways along the shore on either side of the beach.