Sailing at Vavau, Tonga

sailing at VavauEvery Friday afternoon, Vavau Adventures and the Mermaid Bar & Restaurant sponsor the Friendly Island Yacht Club Sailing Dinghy Race in Port of Refuge Harbor at Vavau, Tonga. Vavau is one of the South Pacific's most important yachting centers, where boats on the "Coconut Milk Run" from Tahiti to Fiji pause during the cruising season from May to October.

This year, cruising yachties will have a new place to check in upon arrival at Vavau: The Aquarium Internet Cafe run by a an American couple, Ben and Lisa Newton. It's in the old Sunsail office on the Neiafu waterfront, right next to Beluga Diving. There's dinghy dock access, and some cruiser services like hot showers and water are available. Aquarium can also book all activities and accommodations on Vava'u.

Ben and Lisa only opened their cafe last July, and they're in the process of setting up an activities company called Vavau Adventures. They currently rent six four-meter sailing dinghies (pictured here) for use in Port of Refuge Harbor at T$25 an hour or T$125 a day. Safety gear and a quick instructional are included. Each skiff carries three people, allowing you and few friends to participate in the dinghy category of the regular Friday afternoon sailing race. Win or lose, happy hour or dinner at the Mermaid Bar will more than compensate.

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