Uonukuhahaki Island

This trip has certainly provided us with many unusual opportunities – like being able to say, as K recently did, “Hey, for lunch – let’s have barracuda sandwiches!”

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We caught this bad boy on the way from Pangai to Uonukuhahaki, and cooked the fillets in a sand pit on the beach.

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We’re clean out of banana leaves so we wrapped them in foil with garlic and butter and baked them in a crypt of hot rocks under the sand.  The leftovers made a wicked good barracuda salad with garlic and chives. We’ve both recently been reading an Anthony Bourdain book and have become a little food obsessed.

The uninhabited island of Uonukuhahaki is joined to its sister island, Uonukuhihifo, by an intertidal sandbar.


At low tide the sandbar was very popular, crowded with scores of terns,

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a few noddies,

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and a couple of tourists celebrating their wedding anniversary.


While S took a few minutes to reflect on what it’s been like to be marooned with K for the past 13 years…

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K chased some wildlife around the island.

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Some things are universal regardless of one’s species.  We felt great empathy for this fellow traveller as he made progress ever so slowly on his journey…we know how it feels.


Later in the afternoon, K had just popped up into the cockpit after a shower to grab a sun-drying towel when two Finnish kayakers caught him in the buff. It was alarming because Tonga is a very conservative culture for clothes. There are things we don’t expect that surprise us every day and new on the list is: Finnish kayakers 20 nm from the nearest airstrip on a remote out-island in rural Tonga while one is looking for a towel. Had we known they were Finnish right off we might have invited them to strip down and join us for a steam and a dip in an icy pond.  Alf and Patrick, who are on a 10 day paddling trip, seemed like our kind of people so we invited them to join us on the beach for a celebratory BBQ.

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K passed around a couple liters of his latest batch of brew, and made flatbread on one pile of embers and grilled lamb ribs on another.  Patrick and Alf had boil-in-a-bag chicken teriyaki (we think).  Under the pressure of our wheelbarrow full of fast-ripening Lofanga bananas, S made bananas foster for all for dessert (alas, we had no ice cream!).

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Alf and Patrick were delightful, fascinating company.  With the conversation covering such topics as mountain climbing rescues in the Himalayas, diving in 300 meter visibility under Antarctic ice, growing up in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan, waste management in Greenland, and Russian contract aviation, we chatted late into the evening.

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19°57.95’S 174°29.56’W   21-Sept-10 6:30 UTC

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2 Responses to “Uonukuhahaki Island”

  1. Nicole says:

    Congrats on your wedding anniversary! What a beautiful spot to celebrate. We just celebrated our 6th anniversary on the 25th, but our trip to Oregon wine country seems a little less exotic when compared with a deserted island in Tonga. :)

    Love the pics and stories, as usual.


  2. Mel says:

    Okay, I can’t believe we missed your anniversary! And after you remembered birthday wishes too! Ugh … well I’ve learned that there’s this great phenomenon that can explain it – it’s called “it’s the baby’s fault”! So Happy Belated Anniversary! Well make sure to stock the fridges with beer, meat, pie and tiramisu for a grand celebration when you swing through the next time. I love the snap of the two of you between the palms.

    Glad to hear you are keeping up on your food porn a la Bourdain. He’s one of my faves as well. Some things stretch well across oceans.

    Missing you muchly,