We anchored for three days at the tiny island of Uoleva - a restful place with sandy beaches, ten inhabitants, and crystal-clear blue water. Pim, Josje and I decided to walk around the island, and on our way back, we encountered an American woman who was running a small resort of beach huts. She told us a story about when she was building the resort, and her Tongan employees started showing up with big heavy rocks. She asked them where on this desert, coral island they were getting the boulders, and they took her to a mysterious, pyramid-shaped ruin in the jungle (where she told them "For the love of God, stop dismantling this!"). We were pretty excited by her story, so the next day, we followed the lady's specific, but curious directions to find the ruins: "past the three small coconut trees, by the stump, under the arched vines, through the jungle" :) It was easy enough to find: a small pyramid, overgrown with trees and leaves. We scrambled up the steep side of it until we reached the top, which was higher than our heads, almost as high as a one-story building. At the top, pointed stones were set in a ring like an ancient fire pit. We walked across the top, and on the other side, a ramp made of big stones let us walk down again more easily.
The American lady said that according to the Tongans, an ancient Tongan king had ordered his men to build it so that he could climb to the top and "catch pigeons more easily." We shared the American woman's view that this was bullshit. Others said that the Chinese had built it centuries ago. We suggested that maybe it was an old alien site used for communicating with the mother planet? There are only two such pyramids on the Tonga islands, she said, and her opinion was that they were for lighting fires and navigating ships to safety at night. Tonga is so rife with dangerous reefs that this version of the story made the most sense to me. I still like the idea of aliens.