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Nuku to Port Maurelle

Probably one of the most photographed of all the Tongan islands, the picturesque uninhabited island of Nuku offers golden sands fringed by majestic swaying palms and warm clear turquoise waters for swimming and snorkelling. Locally known as ‘Picnic Island’ for its past uses by Tongan Royalty for Tongan feasts and celebrations, this picture postcard atoll is so peaceful and serene that you won’t want to leave.

Just a short hop on your yacht charter from Nuku, as you sail onwards to Port Maurelle, is the enchanting island of Kapa. This pearl of the pacific offers some truly superb snorkelling, and one the best spots in the whole of Vava’u are the Japanese Coral Gardens, found just off the beach. In this fantastic reef you can expect to see a wide variety of colourful fish from the shy clown fish and blue starfish to the fierce lionfish and lobsters. Back ashore the islands resort has a good restaurant offering panoramic views out across the turquoise sea and neighbouring forested islands. Then menu offers a mixture of local and international cuisine so there’s something to suit everyone’s taste buds.

The highlight of a visit to Kapa is the impressive Swallows cave, located on the northwestern tip island. Here a clef in the limestone cliff has created an enchanting blue cave, which has been colonised by the visiting swallows that nest here every autumn. The best time to visit is late afternoon when the sun lights up the stalactites, sending rays of sunshine down into the clear waters, illuminating the beautiful coral below and creating a perfect sheltered spot for snorkelling.

Finally its time to make your way to Port Maurelle, where you’ll find a well protected anchorage within the pretty bay. Head ashore and take the short walk south to Barnacle Beach, where this idyllic stretch of sand is home to the fantastic Tongan feasts held here every weekend.


Anchorage can be found between Nuku and the shore of Kapa, keeping clear of the shallows. At Port Maurelle you can anchor about 50yards off the beach.

Things to do

From the anchorage at Port Maurelle anchorage, take your dinghy or kayak to the northwest end of Kapa Island and explore the magnificent Swallows Cave. There is some superb snorkelling to be found both on Kapa and the gorgeous little island of Nuku.


There are no facilities available for yachts