26.05.2015 - 26.05.2015
The flight from Auckland [Auckland-travel-guide-1139106] on 27MAY and landed on 26MAY after crossing the International Date Line. At Niue's Hannan International Airport, we disembarked by stairs and were given big blue arrival cards to completed. I suspect the airline had run out of stock of thse in Auckland, so we had to fill them in on the ground (quite literally for some who sat on the floor of the arrival area).
After clearing immigration and quarantine, I ventured out into the public area and was directed towards Brian from Niue Backpackers who picked me up. It was a short drive to the hostel of four rooms, smack in the middle of the tiny capital Alofi. Ira, his wife, was a the reception which doubled as the Yacht Club.First glimpses of Niue; the Parliament House!
I changed into shorts and explored the neighbourhood's sea-tracks and also checked-out the car rental agency. A friendly Kiwi offered me a ride to the supermarket where I was surprised by the relatively cheap price of some things like soft drinks, but was caught unaware buying a bag of locally-made banana chips which ended up costing me NZD6.
Back at the hostel, I chatted to (and had a beer) with Australians Barry & Carol and Brits Andy & Emma who had sailed here in a catamaran en route to Tonga. They had been part of a bigger race which had moved on regardless of the storm between Niue and Tonga. The foursome had opted to delay their sailing for a safer journey.
We ended up having dinner together at Gill's Indian Restaurant run by a couple from Ludhiana in Punjab, India.First glimpses of Niue; my new friends' catamaran and the monthly cargo ship.I had wrongly assumed that the owners would have been Fijian Indians as Fiji is much closer!
A Kiwi man at the next table chipped into our conversation and was rather obnoxious with his point of view. The conversation escalated before Carol told him that he had been "over-honest with is opinion". The man's wife looked embarassed and as soon as they had finished, she dragged him out ... only to have left her handbag behind. Emma (who had been the subject of his obnoxious point of view), ran after them so as to re-unite the handbag with its very grateful and apologetic owner.
I have tremendous respect for yachties. Apart from the motion sickness, confined space, being in the middle of a big ocean, they have to handle being with the same person/people all the time. It's a good way of developing one's skill to get on with others and to defuse situations!
After dinner, I went down to the wharf to see the foursome off. Actually, I was more curious about how they had to crane their dinghy into the water in order to launch themselves on the short trip back to the catamaran. It wasn't an easy task but Andy and Emma, who were more experienced, knew exactly what they were doing.