Saying goodbye to the Milk Run
16 October 2008 | Neiafu
It was a sad day for us. We made our way into the Aquarium for lunch and a final internet session before our afternoon clear out. These days the coconut Milk run (the large procession of yachts making their way from Panama to New Zealand) turns south at Vava'u and make for NEw Zealand. We were heading west to Fiji.
At the cafe we saw the crews from Godspede, Ino, O'Vive, Honalee, Thulani, Kairos and others. We also talked to Independent Freedom and a few others on the radio. Some we would no doubt never see again. That said we hope to see them all again in another port along the way. After taking care of some last minute internet business and the very important forwarding of our mail we packed up and got ready to clear out.
The Aquarium had arranged for us to get fuel delivered by truck to the dock at 3PM so we tied up at fisheries around 2:30PM. After clearing out with Immigration, the port captain ($30 tongan), and customs we were allowed to fuel. Once fueled we had to return to the customs office with the receipt to get our clearance.
The sun was getting low when we left. We didn't wan to reach Fiji until morning on Monday. Fiji has very strict and comprehensive yacht clearance procedures, arriving outside of hours is not advised as high fees are charged for weekend clearance and sitting on the boat for a couple days with the Q flying is not allowed.
Our first attempt to park the boat did not work out. We tried to anchor near Malo Island in a large harbor on the way out of the Neiafu passage. There is one mooring here and a boat was on it. The bottom was 40 to 100 feet and the sun was way to low to allow any kind of color interpretation from the surface. We gave anchoring a try but after one fail set we headed for known territory (always a good idea when it is getting late).
We came just outside of the Neiafu exit and headed down to Nuku. The pleasant sandy island was waiting for us just as we had left it. We set the anchor in good holding sand and shut down to await our departure window.