Beveridge Reef & Niue Island
Passage from French Polynesia:
We had a fast run over to the Cook islands where we had hoped to hang out at Manuae/Hervey island for a few days.
Unfortunately we arrived with NE winds and the only anchorage spot was exposed. We could have anchored on the west
side of the island, but it was pristine corals on a 30 foot deep shelf and no way could I destroy that with the anchor and
chain so off we went.
Lucky for us we had a light wind period and could anchor by the pass and dive outside every day for 3 days. It was a bit
bumpy, but it saved 2 mile dingy runs. This reef basically is underwater at high tide and totally exposed so the protection
is limited, but adequate.
The diving was just ok. The sharks were beyond friendly and way too close at times for photos. We had no issues, but
as always it gets the old heart rate up a bit.
It was nice to be alone for 3 days, but when the winds picked up we moved on to Niue hoping for better diving.
The people are very nice here and the officals did all the paperwork ashore at the warf so it was pretty easy. Heck you
can even get duty free alcohol on arrival as well as departure so life is good:) The mooring field can get very bouncy in
any north or west event so expect to toss about. They are strong great moorings at least and cost only 15 kiwi a day and
for another 5 bucks you get unlimited hot showers!!!!!! The bummer is to get ashore you need to hoist the dingy out of
the water using the crane onto a dolly and over to a parking spot. The problem is we have a heavy dingy and getting it
on and off the dolly is not so easy with just the two of us. I am sure many new dings are in the bottom now.
There are only 1000 or less folks on this island and they boast zero crime. Certainly we never locked the boat or the
dingy and had no problems. Heck we rented a car and they said to come pick it up over the weekend when they were
closed. They said just grab one with the keys in it and return it with a full tank of gas. Wow they leave the cars open and
with the keys in them. I wished I lived in a place this safe.
The island is amazing when you start exploring the sea caves and hiking trails. If you are into caves with limestone
formations and crawling around slipping in your tevas this is the place for you. There are saltwater and freshwater pools
to swim in, caves to crawl in sometimes with ropes for safety, old coral to cut yourself on, vegetation to shade the trails, a
sandy oasis with palm trees in the middle of a coral wasteland, etc. Ok most of the island is pretty boring, but the cool
parts are worth the expense of 55 kiwi to rent a car for a day. If you choose the correct rental place they don't even
make you get the local driving permit for a mere 22 bucks more. Gas is over 8 bucks US a gallon, but the tiny hampster
in our car on this tiny island only used 1.5 gallons all day. The island is not more than a couple of hundred feet high, but
every trail seems to drop to sea level and by the end of the day a cruiser is beyond tired.
There are many places to eat and most are a bit expensive. Mostly we found it not worth eating out, but it was a break
from cooking. Many places say to bring your own alcohol and nobody seems to take credit cards. Also the local bank
won't even change money and has no ATM so bring kiwi cash. The store had little until the supply boat arrived and then
not too much else and it is all expensive. Heck tahiti was cheaper on many things so that tells you quite a bit.
The diving is pretty bad. I am not sure if it was from the big hurricane a few years ago or just global warming, but some
dive sites are almost completely dead. The dive shop does not want your business nor you tying to their moorings. They
seem to have enough business from some resort so dive on your own. We tied to a couple of their moorings, but the
dives were not worth it. Diving in the middle of the mooring field was better except for some boat using way too much
toilet paper and not having a macerator so it was a bit gross. Now Niue has an abundance of sea snakes and they are
beyond deadly and very friendly. Ok they won't and cant attack so don't worry too much. We saw some eagle rays,
nudies, some fish, one turtle and not too much else.
Now we also snorkeled with two whales and some dolphins so not at all a bad place to hang out. Supposedly the dive
boat will give you grief if you chase the whales in the dingy, but then they zoom straight out to them and jump in so I
guess it is ok if you pay 100 or so bucks to harass the whales, but not if you are doing it for free. Just like Tonga 8 years
ago where the whale boat harassed this mother and calf for hours and drove all of us away that wanted to come watch.
Niue has one major pain in the butt flaw. Sundays are for god and noting else. The locals go to church and are not
allowed to use their boats or swim or much of anything. We are asked not to swim or use the dingy other than to come
ashore. Some boats respected this and some pushed the limits. It is a small island and everyone knows everything. Ok
I admit on our second sunday we got so boat crazy we snuck off the back to dive, but we stayed hidden and tried to be
discrete about it. Others were way too blatant and likely offended the locals with what they were doing. I hope we did
not. It is always an issue for cruisers when faced with something like this. On passages you are stuck for days and
weeks on a bouncing boat reading books and staring at water. When off an island you want to get off the boat whenever
possible. I guess the cruising life is just difficult...:)