How exactly do trees grow on coral?

Alofi, Niue

…cont from previous post

The absolute best place we went to was Togo Chasm.  On the opposite side of the island from Alofi, the chasm is reached by hiking through a forest.  Which as we mentioned before is not a normal sight on an island made of coral.


In fact, no one is really sure how these trees arrived.  Unlike Rarotonga which had a thriving forest, Niue no longer has volcanic soil.  It’s just coral with a thin layer of sand and organic debris.  Not much for a tree to thrive in, but somehow these do.  The trees are related to mahogany, but we never did figure it out (hey, we’re sailors not botanists!).


Stepping down into the Togo Chasm was like finding our own private Survivor set.  It’s just that naturally awesome.  There was a beautiful sandy floor (which is rare on this island), coconut trees and a small lagoon.  It embodies the definition of tropical paradise.  We expected to see a tiki bar around the corner, and almost had to pinch ourselves to believe how beautiful and unspoiled it was.


As we were leaving the chasm, we accidentally discovered a chamber with some serious wave action.  We named it the washing machine.  Watch this video to find out why!

It wasn’t even a rough or storm day when we filmed the washing machine!   Imagine what it would be like when it was!


Between the friendly people (the yacht club not only welcomed us into the anchorage, they also sent a car to pick us up from the dingy berth and gave us a free tour of town), best internet connectivity in the islands (and it’s FREE!), excellent food (ice cream shop!) and the stupefying untouched beauty of this island Greg is going to claim Niue as his favorite Pacific island.  Videos and pictures cannot convey what we saw there.  This island was amazing.

Oh yeah, and the humpback whales swing by every year to say hi as well.  They are known to wake up boats in the anchorage with their singing.  We were there for that too.  More to follow!



For more about the land of the South Pacific check out our exploration of Fakarava a UN heritage site by clicking onThat Crab’s on fire!

About the authors

Greg and Tiffany are traveling around the world on sailing yachts and keep a video blog of their (mis)adventures.  If sailing to Tahiti on a 44 ft sailboat, getting pooped on by seagulls, opening coconuts with dull machetes, sailing past tornadoes and ukulele Christmas carols are for you, then check them out at!


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