Tonga, Ha’apai Islands & Cyclone Ian Appeal

Monday, 3 February 2014

Last month, January 2014, I was in Tonga and on Foa Island in the Ha’apai Group just before Cyclone Ian hit it with Category 5 violence causing huge damage. The Ha’apai Group featured in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014 as one of the Top 10 Regions of the world.

Cyclone Ian 542▲ Cyclone Ian moving towards Tonga. The two big islands of Fiji – Viti Levu and Vanua Levu are off to the top left corner. The cyclone is moving down towards the islands of Tonga in the bottom right corner.

The Matafonua Lodge – I went scuba diving with them just a couple of days before the cyclone hit – have launched an appeal to help the islanders rebuild. Click here for information from the lodge on how to help or here for the Tonga Appeal info.

Matafonua Lodge 542▲ Or click here to watch their latest whale watching video, swimming with the humpback whales which visit Tonga mid-year each year with their new born calves is a major Tonga attraction.

In an earlier posting on Ha’apai I mentioned the Fifita Guest House on Lifuka, the next island along, and after the cyclone Mick Hortle, an Australian visiting the island at the time emailed me on his cyclone experiences. ‘We felt confident of our safety during the passing of the cyclone (even experiencing the relative calm of the eye for 20 minutes) as we sheltered under concrete beams and floor downstairs at Fifita’s.’