Preparing for the New Zealand PassageJoan
10/28/2009, Nuku Alofa, Tongatapu, Tonga
It looks like a nice weather window is opening up for us. We are preparing to leave tomorrow, Friday the 30th. Yes, I know it is bad luck to leave on a Friday. Hopefully our liberal bribe of libations will coax Neptune in granting us a safe passage. We are excited about visiting New Zealand and also getting caught up on some boat chores. Tender Spirit will be spending most of her time at Whangarei. We are hoping to do some touring in South Island by land. We are also getting our new furry crew member, which we are really looking forward to. I will post more information about our passage soon. As usual, I will try to remote post every day on passage through the single sideband radio. We do not have access to a wifi signal here in the anchorage so sending and receiving email lately has been more challenging so if you haven't heard from us, hang in there! We will for sure catch up in New Zealand and also post new photos.
Eua Side TripJoan
10/27/2009, Nuku Alofa, Tongatapu, Tonga
I jumped ship for a few days and visited my friend Bria who lives in Eua. She is a Peace Corps volunteer. We used to teach together in Gambell and hadn't seen each other in six years. We had a great time catching up. I also enjoyed visiting Eua and meeting the people there as well. It is a rural community. Wealth is pigs, and there were a lot of pigs running around. One thing about rural travel is that one must go with a sense of adventure, humor and a very broad interpretation as to expectations especially when booking accommodations and guided activities. Bria and I had lots to enjoy and laugh about. It is amazing how similar Rural Alaska and Rural Tonga really are.
Safe Arrival at Nuku AlofaJoan
10/20/2009, Nuku Alofa, Tongatapu, Tonga
We are anchored at Nuku Alofa, tucked into a little motu in about 20 feet of clear water. We had a nice uneventful passage. No wind for most of the night, but lots of current that moved us faster than expected. We wound up drifting around for about 5 hours waiting for daylight. With the reef system, it would have been a disaster to attempt a night entry....something that we refuse to do. Well, all is well. I need to pay a visit to immigration, customs, and the port captain, then some sleep!
Off-Shore October 20Joan
10/19/2009, Off Shore, passage from Vava'u Islands to Tongatapu Group
All is well on this fine Monday morning. We have just enough wind to fill the sails, so are motoring as well. We have blue sky this morning and lots of stars last night. The stars off shore are incredible. I have never seen such a display when we are on the land, so I look forward to these nights. The Milky Way stretches across the sky. The constellations would be easy to pick out, except I am not as familiar with this southern sky. My constellation guide book was destroyed when the bookcase got a soaking on our Rarotonga to Niue passage. Hopefully I'll be able to replace it in New Zealand. It looks like this is going to be one of those nice easy passages, so we are feeling quite pleased this morning. We are making good time and at this rate will arrive early tomorrow morning.
Leaving for Nuku AlofaJoan
10/18/2009, Neiafu, Kingdom of Tonga
Well, we are going to leave today for Nuku Alofa. The weather looks fine. The passage is only about 170 miles and will take about 2 days. We have some great pictures of the sailboat races from last Friday. We also have some great pictures of the pig roast last weekend. I will try to get them blog ready and posted when we arrive at Nuku Alofa.
Harbor Day Today!Joan
10/13/2009, Neiafu, Kingdom of Tonga
We declared a harbor day today. It's blowing in the 25 knot range with rain. It looks like great weather to dig into a good book or catch up on a few indoor boat projects. We also found some movies to watch. This is one of our favorite past times when using the generator to top off the batteries.
10/10/2009, Vava'u, Tonga
While we have access to the internet, I took the time to make some changes for the blog. How do you like the new look? Are the folders helpful? What would make it even better?
Timing our Southbound PassageJoan
10/10/2009, Neiafu, Kingdom of Tonga
We have been listening to the weather reports and also consulting with Kiwis and other cruisers that have made the passage to New Zealand numerous times. We need to wait a bit longer before contemplating this often rough passage. Cyclone season starts the first of November. After researching storm patterns, we discovered that cyclones rarely occur in the Tonga area before December. New Zealand is still experiencing winter weather patterns and the boats that leave too early get a rough ride. The longer we can wait, the better likelihood that we will have a smoother passage. The boats on passage now are experiencing some nasty weather. By the way, it is still snowing in New Zealand. We are not ready for those temperatures! We have no problem waiting for it to warm up a bit! We prefer to remain here in Vavau where the anchorage is pleasant and protected. Once we head south, we will be stern tied to a rock wall at Nuku Alofa. I expect it will be quite crowded with many others also waiting for the right weather window to go south. We will be joining the crowds soon enough.
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Adventures of Tender Spirit