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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Little Uoleva is getting a little crowded

 

Take one part sun-soaked, palm-lined beach, add hammock stretched between two palm trees, dash of ice-cold beer, and a pinch of gentle tradewinds, and finish with a twist of tropical sunset.

It's easy to lose track of time in the land where time begins. Welcome to the South Sea Island Paradise of Ha'apai in the tiny Kingdom of Tonga! And welcome to my favourite island of Uoleva which, however, is getting a bit crowded.

Captain Cook Hideaway

First there was the Captain Cook Hideaway. Then came Taiana's Place. Or was it the other way round? No matter! For a long time they were the only two places on this otherwise uninhabited island.

Taiana's Place

Then came Patti Ernst from Chicago who, with her Tongan friend Sami, opened up the Serenity Beaches resort which is on sale for - wait for it! - ONE-POINT-FIVE-MILLION-US-DOLLARS !!! It must be the heat!

Serenity Beach Resort

Then came South African Craig Airey who had arrived in Tonga in his Endurance 37 yacht "Gwendolyn" in mid-2007 with his Polish friend Magda and bought the Mariner's Café in Pangai.

In late 2014, Craig left the café in Magda's hands to build, together with Kristen Duirs, the Talitali'anga Eco Resort which they sold October 2016 to move to Raetihi near Oakune on New Zealand's North Island.

The new owners are Clint & Maria Cantrell who renamed it Sea Change Eco Retreat. They live in New Zealand and the resort is managed by Becky & Make Pepa.

Talitali'anga Eco Resort

So where to stay on my next Tongan holiday? I think, for my money I still prefer the more authentic Tongan fales at Taiana's Place or the Captain Cook Hideaway. The only question is: when can I get away?