Our family headed off grid and went to the exotic island of Niue. What we found was a simple island with charm but also challenges.
Niue came with the expected sunshine, warm temperatures and locals with hearts of gold.
We enjoyed the music, culture, the glistening warm sea and striking beauty, along with the lack of wifi and limited shopping. What a treat for an autumn holiday getaway.
However, Niue is isolated. Just two flights travel to Niue each week and only one container ship berths in Niue each month, weather permitting. Everything from food to fuel comes in either by air or sea. When supplies run out, then you do without.
Niue is a coral atoll so you have to dress to protect yourself. Have you ever walked over sharp coral (in flippers), or snorkelled between gagged rocks and caves? Any coral cuts need to be treated seriously or infection sets in.
The coast is surrounded by steep cliffs so you have to be daring and dive or jump from great heights to reach the warm seas.
The sea is tidal so you can be sucked out to sea or thrown up on the sharp rocks.
The ocean is full of wonderful sea creatures including dolphins, turtles and whales but when you snorkel you also swim amongst sharks and sea snakes.
Luka took it all in his stride. He spent the majority of his holiday under water. He jumped off cliffs, clambered over sharp coral outcrops and swam through caves often surrounded by curious sea snakes. Despite his fear of these, he snorkelled for hours and then took on the ultimate challenge – Scuba diving.
Luka, Kirah (Luka’s sister), and Eric did a morning of Scuba diving training. They learnt how to use the diving apparatus (tanks, mouthpiece), equalise their ears, practised diving sign language which was a breeze for Luka and then tested it all out in the pool. The instructors had a wonderful approach. Within their strict safety guidelines, they let Luka set his own limits.
By afternoon they put it all together and did a reef dive out at sea. Amazing.
I have to say I had to hold back my panic. So much could go wrong and that included drowning. However, both Luka and Kirah revelled in the beautiful underwater world. They dived deep and long and came up smiling.
This moment reminded me that many outdoor challenges can give children positive feelings of self-worth and pride that they can’t always find elsewhere.
Now I’ll let the photos do the talking.
Angelique van der Velden