04 November 2011
4 November 2011
The Tonga trench is 10,000 metres deep and we passed over it just before our depthometer read 30 metres - we'd arrived within Tongatapu's lagoon. Crazy! There's nothing to show that we've just jumped 9,970 metres over an underwater mountain, except our boat's instruments (and they've been known to have their inaccuracies in the past!) The sun was setting (as predicted) but luckily we passed all the way through the channel in light, which was just as well as none of the channel markers marked on the chart were in place. It was great to see whales blowing mist around us as we came in and even nicer to hear Gruffalo come over the radio and guide us in with a flash light. Dropping anchor was the nicest feeling. Having Gruffalo come over to say hello was also lovely, not having seen them since Panama.
The next day, we left the anchorage and headed into the customs dock, where we waited all day for the 4 officials to visit us. At least we didn't have to walk all over two looking for them. I know that every country has their protocols and we as sailors have to respect them, but I did wonder why we needed 4 visits - when each one gave us the same form to fill in. I even had to ask one of the men from which department did he come? Health. And your role is? To check that no-one is unwell on board. But he didn't even ask us. He just asked us to fill in a form (none of the questions asked are all your crew in good health?) and charged us 100 pangaa. Hmm.
Anyway, now we are back in the Pangaimotu island anchorage - it's very beautiful and has a really friendly 'yacht club' which is the hub of social activities for the boats waiting to head down to NZ. For now, we're just going to relax and enjoy our time here, thinking about leaving in the next couple of weeks.
Curr Position: 21.07S 175.09W