National Geographic : 1968 Mar
They looked black against the blue sky, hang ing upside down and chattering, with small ones clinging to their mothers' backs. "Next, Dad, you have to see the blowholes on the southwest coast," Ed said. For years I had heard of this spectacular sight, resulting from the ceaseless pounding of waves from the open sea. Trade winds sweeping unimpeded for a thousand miles build up great waves that come roaring in continuously. Hitting the steep sides of Tonga with a terrific crash, they undermine the coral limestone and wear holes in the reefs. The foaming water spouts up through these openings like geysers. We parked the car under the coconuts near Houma and walked down a carpet of tropical green to the sea. Around a crescent of blue, 330 spray was shooting skyward from hundreds of fountains. The earth shook under our feet from the impact of the thundering waves. In all my life around the sea, I have never seen anything more dramatic (pages 344-5). Ed was mysterious about our next stop. Off we jounced on a dirt road, past coconut plantations and thatched villages. Families were cooking supper over outdoor fires, and fishermen were mending nets on the beaches. All smiled and waved as we passed. Suddenly, near Kolonga, a curious coral limestone structure appeared, framed in a grove: two pillars with a mortised crosspiece weighing many tons. Ha'amonga,or "the bur den carried on a carrying stick," Tongans apt ly call it. The Ha'amonga was built by King Tu'itatui seven centuries ago, tradition says.