A Niue Experience

Niue Harbor from Tahina
Niue Harbor from Tahina – wharf on the left

We arrived at Niue on Thursday afternoon after a 3.8 day sail from Rarotonga. Niue, which is pronounced “new-y”, is the world’s smallest single island nation. The island is geographically a raised coral atoll. There are almost no beaches, the island is mostly round, it is surrounded mostly by steep cliffs made of coral rock, and drops off to deep waters just a few meters from the cliffs. Most of the livable land is flat above the cliffs and is covered in tropical vegetation. There are no mountains on the island.

We managed to sail around to the west side of the island where there is a bit of an indentation forming a kind of bay. This is the location of the “harbor” for Niue. Staying at Niue is only good if the winds come from the east. Niue has a single concrete wharf with a man-made cut allowing small ships to park and unload supplies for the island. The water is kind of deep for anchoring, so the island has placed moorings for visiting yachts. There is a “Niue Yacht Club” which exclusively caters to visiting yachts (because there are no local yachts). The NYC provides access to a dinghy lift so you can get your dinghy up on the wharf (so it won’t be exposed to the surge at the wharf), clean bathrooms and showers on shore, and a cafe/bar and Internet at the clubhouse.

As we arrived, we called Niue Radio and they gathered our boat details and set up a visit with customs. Once we were moored, Karen and I went ashore and took care of customs and immigration. A very smooth and fast process. The people are very friendly. The immigration officer chatted with us in a very friendly manner and told us about some upcoming events on the island.

We then went to the NYC clubhouse and signed in with them. There we met up with several other boaters who were hanging out for Internet and socializing. There were several boats we know in port: “Sea Mist”, “Inspiration Lady”, “Dreamtime”, “Anthem”, “Imagine”, and “Haze”. And several other boats as well. The other boat crews gave us the low-down on Niue. Not only that, but we were immediately invited to do an island tour the next day in a minivan rented by “Inspiration Lady”. They had two seats left. Because it was late in the day, I couldn’t buy access to the harbor WIFI for Internet. But, I got on for an hour at the clubhouse to at least check E-mails.

The Niue harbor is beautiful from up on the cliffs. We headed back to the boat in the setting sun and were in awe at the view of the sea with the sailboats parked in the bay. This will be a really special place!

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