Pukutola Point from a distance
Ha’ano Island, about 8 miles north of Lifuka, was our first stop in the Ha’apai group. Although there are a few islands further north, they are also further west than we wanted to be. This was as far north as we could stop within the Ha’apai and stay near our intended course. After our daysail from Vava’u, we were happy to drop our anchor at Ha’ano before sunset.
Ha’ano is inhabited, but we did not visit the village. In fact, we did not go ashore at all. Technically, we were not supposed to stop at any Ha’apai island before checking in on Lifuka. And even though we have heard that customs in Ha’apai are relatively easy going, we saw no need to test that. We had already somewhat stretched the rule, so we chose not to stretch it any further.
From the anchorage we could enjoy the beautiful coast and Pukutola Point. From a distance, the point appears uninhabited, but we had read about the fruit bats. We did take the dinghy to the shallows to see them. There are hundreds of bats! They make a squeaking sound somewhat like a mouse – a very big mouse. And, like all bats, they hang upside down. Some of the trees were full of bats, and many more were flying around. Cool.
Flying fruit bat
Tree full of fruit bats
Some of the coral looked inviting, and we thought about going for a quick dive before heading to Lifuka to check in, but we decided against it. We see no need to push our luck as we are entering a new area. So, by mid-morning we had our anchor up and we were off to Lifuka to check in.