A reef enclosed island with several crater lakes and the remains of a 3000 year old fort was given the name Wallis by an English navigator, Samuel Wallis. Its partner island Futuna is some 300km to the south, giving the French colonised country its complete name; Wallis and Futuna.
For such a small island there seems to be a few political hot heads and there are the occasional embargos sanctioned over different parts of the land due to one king disagreeing with the other king. Yes, this small island has two kings. Futuna also has its own king and they get a bit cranky when the Wallis kings are disagreeing because flights to Noumea are interrupted. Everyone speaks French and a local language similar to Tongan. In Futuna, the local language is similar to Samoan. It’s difficult to find anyone speaking English.
Thank goodness for the Captain’s seven years of French in high school. The 3000 year old fort wasn’t just to stop Tongan invaders but to protect the southern king’s people against the northern king’s attacks. Despite this internal aggression, the people are friendly and we’ve had no problems hitch hiking to town. Like French Polynesia, there are no taxis or public transport. Everyone is sporting a 4WD pickup truck, courteous of the French government. It is only 26km to circumnavigate the island.
We’ve had no problems hitchhiking into town as the locals are really friendly but it is a tiresome and hot excursion. The locals all wear leis in their cars. We figure it’s kind of a personal air freshener. Healthier than deodorant and probably cheaper too.
High winds kept us tucked up in protective harbours for a few days but as the winds died down, we headed off to the outer islands around the barrier reef. Here we found clear water and coral filled lagoons. Fantastic for paddle boarding and kayaking. Unfortunately mosquitoes and flies were abundant onshore and the only relief was to sit or swim in the water. Thomas ventured across the island through thick jungle to explore the windward side. There, a small lagoon lay before the roaring swell hitting the barrier reef. Such violence in comparison to the leeward side with the calm lagoon.
Looking for a weather window to reach Fiji has been a bit of a challenge as the convergence zone is upon us, making conditions unpredictable. It appears a bit rough out there for the passage so after restocking the pantry, we are returning to the outer islands to explore some more.