31 August 2010 | Vavua Anchorages
We found some wonderful anchorages here where the easiest access to shore is to swim, even for the kids. Freya prefers to swim next to me and sometimes take a break by climbing on my back. She has gotten braver though and will swim 30 feet from the boat to check out a coral head on her own. She has become an avid snorkeler, but did not like the 4 foot sea worm we saw yesterday. When she she saw it she left the safety of my back and swam away from me quickly. When I caught up to her she asked me if we had just seen a dragon.
Our initial impression that Wifi was everywhere here was incorrect. The last couple of anchorages have been radio silent. I have not posted blogs via the SSB radio because it is a hassle and I keep expecting to be back in full coverage soon. Tomorrow we will head into Nieafu to start re-provisioning for the trip to Fiji. If we get done by Thursday morning we will head back out to a remote anchorage for our last night and some swimming. I think this is unlikely as it is easy to get addicted to the towns, with restaurants, cold drinks, and Internet.
We have finally started meeting more families. Just before we left Nieafu last week, we met a French family on a catamaran called "Na Maka." Our kids were paddling around the harbor in their inflatable kayak in search of other kids on boats and found Na Maka. They quickly made friends with Leo, a ten year old. He had a sit on top kayak and was soon paddling with them. Na Maka is on their second boat already; they are on a multi-year cruise through the South Pacific.
A couple of days ago while we were anchored in Vaka'eitu, Christine and I watched Na Maka pull in. After they were anchored and settled we got the kids in the dinghy to "explore". I thought we might tip over when they realized who we were going see. The parents, Natalie and Gerome, invited us over for dinner. (kids: keep making friends!) We had a wonderful dinner -- complete with adult conversation -- while the kids played. Leo has two younger brothers Freya's age, so it is a good mix. The next day we hiked together to a pristine beach on the opposite side of the island. Later, Leo, Gerome, Sophie and I went snorkeling in the Coral Garden - a renowned spot here in Vavua. It did not disappoint. The entry and exit were a bit tricky. There was a coral ledge awash then a drop off. The ledge went from 0 to 2 feet deep with the waves, so we had to time entry and exit with the surge. Our timing was off on the exit and Sophie and I got a few coral cuts (which clean up best with lime or lemon juice) while our more experienced partners came out fine.
Yesterday Tristan, a ten year old Danish boy swam up as our kids were swimming around the boat. Soon he Finn, and Sophie were a hundred yards off working their way to the beach. After they tired themselves out they came back here for some snack and games.
Last night Na Maka pulled in (somewhat planned). The kids were excited to reunite on the beach this morning after "school". Just after lunch Tristan joined them and it looked like a regular neighborhood crew.
Flippers and a mask take the place of bikes out here. The kids swim between the boats, climbing aboard to play, eat and watch movies (when allowed), then hop in for a swim to the next boat once they are ready to move on. While the water is 30 feet deep or so, it is clear and there is nothing dangerous to prevent them swimming around. The 100 yards between Na Maka and the Jenny P is not an issue for Finn and Sophie, though Mom and Dad like to see them make the crossings with a partner, although this rule seems hard to remember.
Jerome played guide again and took the kids and I over to Swallow's cave. You can swim in on the surface for easy access. The pictures I took don't do justice to the beauty of the afternoon light streaming through the west facing openings in the rock.
Tomorrow we will head to Neiafu to re-provision and take care of some Internet planning work. Gerome and I are planning to go scuba diving together at some point this week. Once we leave Vavau we will miss these new friends.