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Island Hopping by Gary D. Crawford

“Island hopping” is a curious phrase, when you think about it. It brings to mind a particular type of excursion, whereby the traveler moves quickly from one island to another. That, by the way, is a fine adventure, one I have enjoyed in several parts of the world – in Greece, Hawaii, Polynesia, Micronesia. Travelers can become confused, of course. I fondly recall standing on the upper deck of a cruise ship at dawn with a friend of mine who was a native of Tonga. We were young then, hitchhiking back to his home from Pago Pago. The ship was approaching the harbor of Nuku’alofa, the Tongan capital, carefully traversing the curving channel between islets and coral heads. We had spent the previous afternoon at Vava’u, the northernmost of the three Tongan island groups. At dusk we set sail again and headed south, slipping past Ha’apai, the middle group, during the wee hours. Now I was eager to land on the fabled main island of Tongatabu, where the last Polynesian king still reigned. As the captain threaded his way toward the wharf, the colors of the island emerged from the dawn twilight, catching my friend and me

quite spellbound. We were joined at the rail by another early riser. “Oh, my, Fiji is quite beautiful!” exclaimed the woman. “Actually, this is Tonga,” my friend pointed out. “Oh, no, Tonga was yesterday. Today is Fiji. The schedule is quite clear.” We said no more, leaving her to enjoy the glorious sunrise of “Fiji.” That was many years ago. Now here on the Chesapeake, again I am on an island. Can’t stay away from them, I guess. Each seems to have its own curious history. Our subject here, however, is real island hopping – specifically with the islands themselves hopping

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King Tupou IV of Tonga

Tidewater Times July 2011  

July 2011 Tidewater Times

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