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By No owner — last modified Feb 26, 2018 02:38 PM

 Tonga - Profile

Facts

  • Thousands of Tongans were affected when Tropical Cyclone Gita tore through the country on February 12, 2018, reported to be the worst cyclone to hit Tonga in 60 years.
  • This Polynesian kingdom, situated in the heart of the South Pacific, consists of over 160 coral and volcanic islands, of which only 36 are inhabited.
  • Best known among sailors is the northern group of Vava'u, whose maze of islets and reefs provides one of the best cruising grounds in the South Pacific. In recent years there has been a significant increase in the number of boats in the South Pacific, in particular in Tonga’s Vava’u Group, and facilities for yachts are improving all the time.
  • Getting work done: In spite of Tonga's remoteness, facilities are surprisingly good and the setting up of a small industrial centre near the capital Nuku'alofa has encouraged several boating-related foreign companies to start operations in Tonga. There is also a Moorings charter base in Vava’u. In 2015, a new boatyard (the only one in Tonga) opened in Vava'u capable of handling monohulls and multihulls up to 30 metric tonnes and 60ft.
  • Provisioning: There are several supermarkets which stock local staples and produce and fresh produce markets. Be sure to arrive early.
  • A dangerous area to avoid by boats on passage to Fiji is Metis Shoal (19°11.4'S 174°51'W), where there has been intense volcanic activity.
  • The Ha’apai group, while requiring careful navigation, have some of the most beautiful isolated islands in the Pacific.
  • Tonga has a new island, about 65 kilometres south-west of Tongatapu, which started forming in January 2016 after a volcano began erupting. Tonga's lands and natural resources ministry has examined the island and stated that the newly formed landmass is around 800m wide and 1.3km long.

Security

Cafe Tropicana is now hosting an AIS Receiver on behalf on www.marinetraffic.com. Data can be seen on the website free.

Weather

Tonga's climate is warm and humid, although less so than other tropical islands. December to March, which is also the hurricane season, has more rain. From April to November the SE trade winds predominate, although quick sudden squalls can occur from other directions.

Weather Forecasts

Radio Nuku’alofa: Dial 1017 kHz on the AM band. Weather forecasts follow the BBC news at 0700 and the Australia news at 0800.

VHF Channel 10: Vava’u Marine Radio transmit the weather forecast at 1030 and 1530 daily apart from Sunday.

VHF Channel 26: This is the Cruiser's Net Update at 8.30 am Monday-Sunday (provides useful information on weather, tides, contacts, services offered or needed and local advertising).

All weather in one place for Vava’u Tonga
www.vavau.to/weather.html

Tonga Meteorological Services
www.met.gov.to/

A useful guide to South Pacific weather resources complied by a Noonsite contributor, Rory Garland.

Tonga & Pacific Weatherstations: Help improve weather forecasting

For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page.

Main Ports

Tonga
Lifuka (Ha'apai)
Neiafu (Vava'u)
Niuafo'ou Island
Niuatoputapu Island
Nuku'alofa (Tongatapu)
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