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Arrival date  06/09/08

This must be the smallest country in the world- one island measuring 23km x 17km and with a population of 1500 

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Niue is a raised coral island, fairly flat and at first sight not very interesting. There is no harbour and all the yachts lie on the many excellent moorings outside the only landing stage

This is an excitement in its own right as going ashore means craning the dinghy out

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First the crew with the camera and then the skipper with a certain amount of difficulty

and then Heave Ho and up she rises

We arrived just when the island was hosting the South Pacific Forum and all the leaders of the relevant nations were present. Also present were 50 Kiwi policeman, army, bomb squad etc. etc.
 All on a rather bemused and reputedly crime-free island
They even had to borrow a Kiwi air-traffic controller-they don't normally need one!

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This was the homely welcome sign for the Forum spelled out on the fence using cardboard cups

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Welcome was exactly how we felt. Everyone went out of their way to be helpful. John gave us a lift and a tour of the island when we were hitch-hiking one day and he had actually been going in the other direction!
Shown here getting us some drinking coconuts 

Every day we had a lovely welcome from Ira who makes the best smoothies in town and in her spare time she designs and makes wonderfully coloured rugs

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Joe of the Hash House Harriers on the way to a hash in the back of Tom's truck

Two, not too hashed, temporary hashers

Joe very kindly took us and some of the people from his motel to look at the Vaikona caves. It was an amazing experience involving some quite tricky rock climbing on razor-sharp old coral by torchlight and then several dives through dark underwater passages to get between underground pools. Unfortunately all the pictures that Caz took on her underwater camera got lost when she went diving the next day and dropped the camera! 

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Even when we eventually emerged high up on the sea cliffs we had to scramble very carefully over the top of these coral pinnacles overgrown with creepers

Ancient coral-beautiful but sharp

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Off on our own, cycling again in the forest which still has some ebony trees in spite of the efforts of the Malaysians to buy all the hard word trees on the island!

Down into the hidden valley of the Togo chasm. All around the island are chasms and caves caused by water/sea/earthquakes-you name it

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a little bit of a cave - nothing like the Vaikona caves

and out on the other side-the sea crashing on the rocks

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the same bit from above

More of the coral pinnacles-could be a landscape from Mordor

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Talava Arches- Captain Cook noted these when he tried to land. This and other attempts at landing caused the island's name to be changed to Niue meaning savage 
 They are a lot more friendly now

There is so much fresh water running into this bathing spot at  Matapa chasm that the sea water is hardly salty. Deep in the limestone, the island has more fresh water than Sydney

One last mention in the welcome to Niue section- The Niue yacht club, commodore Keith, goes out of its way to be welcoming and even provides free wi-fi to yachties

Well, can't put it off any longer in spite of a not very good weather forecast. Time is getting short and we have to get to