In 1781, Francisco Maurelle sailed the waters of Vava′u, claiming the islands for Spain, but Spain never did take control. Neither did any other European power, making Tonga unique. It was the only part of Polynesia to remain free from colonial influences. The monarchy established at about 900 A.D. has remained in place and Tongan culture has remained largely undisturbed since the first Polynesians arrived about 3,000 years ago. The anchorage at Kapa Island that bears Maurelle’s name is where he evidently stopped to refill the ship’s water casks. Cruising in Kapa Island waters affords you the delightful opportunity to retrace the path of history.
Two public moorings are available. Check with the Moorings base about their current condition before you use them. At Port Maurelle, anchor about 50 yards off the beach. No more than a mile away is another beautiful anchorage west of the village of Falevai and north of tiny Nuku Island. In strong easterly winds, you can also anchor right off Falevai.
Dinghy dockage: No dinghy dockage is available.
From the Port Maurelle anchorage, take the dinghy to the northwest end of Kapa Island to explore Swallows Cave. You can drive right inside and view the colorful display of stalactites in the dim sunlight that shines through a circular hole over the dry portion of the cave. Beneath the water is an equally impressive coral formation. Visibility in the cave is excellent. The cave is a unique place for some great snorkeling. With a flashlight in hand, you can prowl the dry inner sections, where traditional Tongan feasts were once held. The superb snorkeling off the north end of nearby Ava Island is easily accessibly by dinghy from Port Maurelle and from the anchorage off Nuku. Nuku is a wonderful little island to explore on foot. It is known as the picnic place of Vava′u.
No facilities for yachts are available.