The island of Nomuka Iki has kindly been leant to Tonga Blue Ltd by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Tupouto’a Ulukalala.
Blue Base established on Nomuka Iki as a basic, but functional and way cool place to live, work and play.
Blue Base is set up in a clearing on the north coast of the island, protected from the trade winds and fronting onto a beautiful white sandy beach, edged by coconut palms. The crystal clear blue Pacific is everywhere and some of the best coral reefs in the world surround the island. Abundant reef sharks indicate a healthy reef system.
We use three room stand up frame tents for all accommodation. Each tent has two partitioned ‘bedrooms’ with a camp bed and storage unit, and then a common room with table and two chairs. Each tent sleeps two crew. There is a solar generator for each tent providing LED lighting 220V, 12v and USB power outlets though total capacity is low.
A larger three room HQ tent will house communications, first aid gear and food stores, the base kitchen and a covered dining area. The field kitchen includes Gas fridges and cooking. The Store tent will house the main camp equipment and logistics and diving gear. We are using petrol and solar generators and will set up a 2tonne per day desalination system. An R&R, 360-degree dome pergola tent will be the place to hang out. Composting toilets will be used and there is a shower enclosure and solar showers. Where possible all garbage will be recycled or composted.
Main boats for dive work will be 4.7m inflatables with 25hp outboards, dive ladders and lifting cranes. The island will have three compressors (one petrol and two 240V) and approx 12 cylinders. Usually we would schedule only two dives a day, unless conditions are perfect, when it could move to three. We are diving ‘air’ only. We only work six days a week, with Sunday always a day of rest and a chance to visit Nomuka. Occasional ‘holidays’ to Nuku alofa can be planned at any time for a ‘milkshake’ or night on the town! Emergency oxygen and comprehensive first aid gear is on site, along with satellite communications. The nearest Hyperbaric chamber is in Fiji, so all dive profiles will be conservative and all divers must have DAN diver insurance and a current medical. The nearest hospital is in Nuku Alofa.
Nomuka Iki is an uninhabited island we have all to ourselves, with room to explore and get away by yourself. There will be fishing gear on the island, and good surf breaks are not that far away, if conditions are right. There will be a ‘Walker’ sailing Dingy and a kayak, deck chairs, hammock, soccer and volley ball on the island for use. Security on the island will be maintained. When ICE is on station, it will be anchored directly in front of Blue Base. We will build the camp when we arrive and we may decide to disassemble everything at the conclusion of 10 weeks, or we may be leaving it open. There is a twice weekly Government ferry, that connects Blue Base to the capital Nuku Alofa with a 6-hour ship ride. We have access to regular supplies of fresh food and mobile phone. The main Island of Nomuka, is just over a mile away across the water to the north and has a small township and trading shop. There is a police station, local school and impressive churches on the island.
Nomuka Iki is something quite special! There will only be between 4 and 8 people in the ‘Blue Team’ and we all cook, wash dishes, build toilets, and maintain the camp grounds and equipment.