Day One to Tonga
08 October 2008 | Passing South of the Capricorn Seamount
We had a great last day at Niue yesterday. It was capped off by a wonderful dinner over at Godspede. We were sad to leave the many wonderful Niueians and yachties we had met there.
Morning came early and we parked the dinghy on the back porch and dropped the mooring in a flat calm. We motor sailed most of the morning trying to keep at least 7 knots of way on. At 7 knots we arrive at the Vava'u Tonga waypoint by 16:00 tomorrow. It is another two hours to the harbor from the waypoint. Vava'u is very protected and the path into the anchorage is winding and doesn't look like something you'd want to try in the dark for the first time. Any slower than 7 knots and we could miss the daylight window tomorrow.
It is about 7PM Niue time presently and we are on schedule. Tonga is the same time as Niue but a day ahead (+13 instead of -11). They decided they wanted to be synchronized with their key trading partners, Australia, NZ and Fiji. We have been running the motor a bit more than I would like, but when the speed drops off we bring it back up with the iron genny. The wind is also very deep to port. We are sailing about 150 degrees which is not the fastest point of sail for this boat. When it comes around to 130 we take off and when it flirts with 160 we have to bear away to keep from racking the rig around in the quartering seas. All in all it has been a pleasant day though, with mostly clear skies. It has rained a little here and there but nothing really squally. The forecast says 15 knots from the ESE for the next couple of days with a 1.7 meter swell, so things probably won't change.
Hideko was on her way to take a nap a few hours ago so I decided to bring in my fishing line. When I tried it wouldn't budge. There was a big fish on the end. We were under full sail down wind and on a time schedule, so we weren't about to head up to slow down. Instead Hideko pointed us dead down wind. This got us down to about 5 knots. It was a grueling 30 minute struggle to get the 4 foot Mahi Mahi on board. Hideko got her first shot at gaffing a fish as I brought him onto the swim platform. I was shouting "hook him Hideko!" and she was trying to get the hook angled into his gills. We spent a good 3 or 4 minutes at this. It was like a Key Stone Cops episode. We did land him though and I think it is the biggest Mahi Mahi we've hauled in.
Needless to say we're having fresh Mahi Mahi for dinner. We now have Parrot Fish, Tuna, Mahi Mahi and Wahoo in the freezer. That is pretty much the full line up out here in the ocean, with some Palmerston Parrot Fish thrown in for good measure. We're putting the rod away until after we can have a fish fry in Tonga with a bunch of friends.
Hideko Says: "Sad to leave Niue, it was such a special place. I look forward to discovering Tonga though!"
150 miles to Tonga!