Saturday, October 18, 2014

Exploring The Shipwreck Of My Lady Lata II

Swimming above and around the rusted hull of My Lady Lata II, and it's rusting companion off Pangaimotu Island off Nuku'alofa in Tonga was like something straight out of the footage of the Titanic - on a much smaller, and up close scale, of course!

I went along with a couple of lads from Fafa Island Resort, and battled through my non-swimmer status to be able to float around the impressive half-submerged ships.

There are two of them, but My Lady Lata II is the most well-known, stuck indefinitely just off the edge of Pangamotu, which makes for interesting viewing from the basic visitors resort and restaurant on the shore. My Lady Lata II was caught up in a cyclone some 12 years ago, and there she has stayed, half exposed to the air. The second ship that you can see, just next to the upended Lady, ran into mechanical trouble, and there it remains some 7 years later.

Having the railings of the deck of either vessel appear in my snorkelling goggles was well worth battling my fear of drowning, and swimming in the depth of the ocean.  Rusted, but still essentially intact, the light from the sun shining down gleams through the windows and doorways, in an eerie way. Even from the surface, I could see the details of the stairways and ladders, and also the new life forms of fish and the like in and around both hulls.

There is a strange beauty in seeing a man-made object abandoned like this, with nature continuing around it, and making it home.

Jouljet Notes
Serious Tip: I went across with staff from Fafa Island Resort, who were on a day off - however you can get across to Pangamotu via a daily boat in the morning, returning in the afternoon, from Nuku'alofa wharf. Many daytrippers do this each day, but especially on Sunday, when then rest of Tonga closes down for church.
Time Spent: We went across the Pangamotu from Fafa for a couple of hours to include lunch, but our swim was probably about half an hour to 45 minutes, being as long as we could stand the idea of the itchy little jellyfish like organisms in the water all around us near the ships.
Cost: A day trip across to Pangamotu from Nuku'alofa is $20.
Quirky Tip: A better swimmer than me could get closer, and swim in and around the cabin of the ship, which looked pretty amazing!

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