|Vessel Make/Model:||40-foot Trimaran (Haskins)|
|Hailing Port:||Newport Beach, CA USA and Sydney Australia|
|Crew:||Carolyn Heath, Tony Spooner, Melia Spooner-Heath, Max, Kimber, Lilly, & Griffin Spooner|
|About:||We are an extended family that built our sailboat, Macha, and are now island-hopping our way across the South Pacific.|
|Extra:||So far (July 2017) we have sailed from S. California to Vava'u, Tonga, and we are about to continue west to Fiji. We have seen all sorts of weather and wildlife, and are enjoying meeting not only the locals, but all the foreign cruisers as well.|
After showing you the down side of cruising in paradise in my last post, I feel I should provide you with a bit more daydream material. The photo shows one of our favorite anchorages in the Vava'u group. We anchor about 30' from shore, in aquamarine water less than 20' deep. To starboard is our own little coral reef, where I just saw my first pair of cuttlefish. They are so cute and full of personality! To port is a view of gorgeous little islands nestled around the lagoon. It's a place so serene and beautiful that one is hard-pressed to stop just sitting and taking in the scenery. May you all find yourselves in someplace equally peaceful very soon!
If you're in need of a little pick-me-up, something to put your work day in perspective and stifle those daydreams of cruising the South Pacific, look no further than the accompanying photo! In it you will see Captain Tony stuck below on an incessantly rainy day, repairing the head (toilet). It's a despicable job, but someone has to do it, and Carolyn was very busy doing every chore she could find to keep her occupied elsewhere. Hopefully this lets you resume whatever chore you were tackling with a bit of a smile on your face. Cheers!
The people that live in the Vava'u Island group of the Kingdom of Tonga know they have something to be proud of. When the Health Department Officials cleared us in at Neiafu they hand-wrote on our paperwork that we were approved for entry into "our beautiful island of Vava'u". And beautiful it is! The island group is nearly surrounded by an outer reef that keeps the larger waves away while letting the cooling breezes in. It makes it a wonderful place to sail. The islands are close enough together to allow easy anchorage-hopping, and the water is crystal clear in many places. Palms and other greenery line the little top-knot islands with their undercut shores - a bit like Palau. We spent the last couple of days at a most scenic anchorage at Port Maurelle on Kapa Island. The sun was out, the seas were calm, and we finally reaped the rewards of our six weeks of repairs and open-ocean passages. We explored Swallows Cave by dinghy, and found under us huge schools of tiny fish. Their patterns shifted and swirled, and formed a shimmery work of art. The next day we tried to find Mariner's Cave, which can only be entered by diving underwater. After finally locating what looked like "a rock with three sort of stripy marks on it" I dove under to take a look. A bit daunting that - deciding to take the plunge into an opening and trusting you will emerge in an air-filled cave! But there it was, the legendary hiding place of a Tongan princess while invaders scoured the island looking for her. It was a bit magical, floating in the semi-darkness of the cave by myself. We'll return on a calmer day with a lower tide so the rest of the family can enjoy it too. Our much-appreciated crew member, Chris Riegle, left to fly back to the states today. We'll miss his sailing skills, good company and cockpit serenades on his guitar. He experienced both the trials and tribulations of ocean voyaging, and we hope he's returned home with many good memories. Tonight we were treated to a wonderful meal at the home of friends here, and we are so full of fresh fish, watermelon juice and rum that we're heading for our bunks a bit early. Tomorrow will bring another day of arranging for sail repairs, etc., and then an hour or two of sailing to explore yet another local island. Maybe we'll be lucky enough to see again the mother humpback whale and her acrobatic calf practicing its belly-up breaches!
We are at last at sea again, heading from Raiatea, French Polynesia, to Vava'u, Tonga. Our first day had brisk winds and sunshine, the next held stronger winds, rain, and confused seas. Now we are motoring through a large lull, but the SE Trades look to be finding us again. We've acquired a 5th crew member: Bernie the Ternie is a Brown Noddy that landed on board yesterday, full of burrs. His/her feathers were all stuck together, so we caught her and removed about 12 of them. She left in a huff, only to return 15 minutes later and take up residence on the kayak. She's been here all night and is a rather cute, if messy, new friend.