Remote Island Life & Ukulele With The Locals

Remote Island Life & Ukulele With The Locals

I bought a ukulele over 10 years ago and have never learned to play it…until now. So it’s official, I’m in a band and they said I could bring you to band practice.

These are just a few of the Vava’u Ukulele Orchestra band members. But, as you can tell, we’re pretty hardcore.

tongan kid learning to playing ukulele

My love affair with the ukulele started with my first trip to Hawaii. I was a makeup artist in my early twenties, on one of my first big jobs and about to leave the mainland for the first time.

I was born and raised in West Texas, never traveled growing up and wasn’t culturally educated. So, this trip was kind of a big deal and I was sooo that person, an American abroad (yet still on US soil).

Everything was exotic and new but it was the aroma of the Frangipani and the sound of the Ukulele that left me intoxicated. I could still smell those sweet notes and hear those island beats even though I was back in the land of cow patties and Willie Nelson.

Years later, just before we sold everything and hit the road, I decided to buy the ukulele you see me with today. I have since carried it with me all around North America and Oceana. Only once have I really attempted to learn how to play it.

We had a lovely patron and fellow ukulele lover by the name of Julie join us for the sail from Tahiti to the Cook Islands. She brought her ukulele and favorite songbook with her for the passage. It was the first time I managed to pluck all the way through twinkle twinkle. It felt like real progress!

But, when we made landfall the need to explore, work, repair and move-on took over. Then, a few months later, we arrived in Tonga and hauled out for cyclone season (thinking we would only be gone a few months, Ha!)

Now here we are, back home, in our groove again (sort of) and stuck until cyclone season ends and borders open. And you know what they say, when stuck on a remote island with a ukulele you’ve carried around for over a decade, LEARN HOW TO PLAY THE DAMNED THING!

nikki wynn playing ukulele in vava'u library with island kids


We get so much from each of the places we visit and it feels good when we have the opportunity to give back. The Vava’u Public Library makes a big impact on this tiny island. They have a range of programs that cultivate curiosity and inspire the kids to learn new things. And that is something we can get behind!

Right now, the library only has a handful of ukuleles and a lot of students. So, we’re going to take all the YouTube ad revenue we make from this video to purchase more ukuleles for the library. This will allow even more students to join in and be a part of the ever-growing Vava’u Ukulele Orchestra.


So thrilled to see so many people want to help with the library! They only need a few more Ukuleles which we will donate. But, they do need general funding for their many, many other programs to help keep the library open. I am working to see if there is a way we can set up a donation page for the library. I will update this post and update you in next week’s video. So stay tuned!


The e-bikes in this video are NOT perfect and you must know I only recommend them with reservations. We also have an e-bike we DO recommend. Here is the scoop on both.

Our Ok Jetson e-bikes: We’re thrilled to have them and better than nothing. They are the smallest, lightest (34 lbs), most compact folding e-bikes we could find.

  • The Bad – The bike is not ideal for taller or heavier individuals. It struggles to maintain speed when climbing hills and depending on your weight, slows to almost a stop if it’s really steep. It has a responsive but not reliable on a steep downhill rear brake. The seat is uncomfortable for long rides. It has a limited range of 17 miles (because of no pedals).
  • The Good – The E-Bike doesn’t have pedals, a chain, or cassette (less to rust and maintain). The bike can fold down and fit in almost any of our large storage lockers (main deciding factor) and easy to load up in the dinghy. They are really affordable for an e-bike…but you get what you pay for.
  • Buy Jetson Bolt –

Great e-bikes: If we had a bigger dry storage locker that could have fit our Blix E-Bikes…we would have loaded those up in our crates. We absolutely love those bikes and miss not having them. If you have the room, go for a Blix or similar quality. You will never need to rent another island car and they are a helluva good time!

Full Blix Review:




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