15 September 2019 | Tonga
09 September 2019 | Nomuka Iki, Ha'apai Group
06 September 2019 | Ha'ano, Ha'apai Group
31 August 2019 | Port Maurelle, Vava'u Group
28 August 2019 | Nuku, Vava'u Group
24 August 2019 | Vava'u North Shore
12 April 2019 | Baie des Vierges, Fatu Hiva
08 April 2019 | Land Ho!!!
07 April 2019 | 143nm to Hiva 'Oa
05 April 2019 | 284nm to Hiva 'Oa
31 March 2019 | 808nm to Hiva 'Oa at 246* Magnetic
27 March 2019 | The Doldrums
23 March 2019 | Pacific Ocean
21 March 2019 | Pacific Ocean
17 March 2019 | Sailing Across the Pacific Ocean!
17 March 2019 | Clipperton
14 March 2019 | 20nm NNE of Clipperton Island
12 March 2019 | 160nm NNE of Clipperton Island
12 March 2019 | Enroute to Clipperton Island
Nomuka and the Kotu Group - Reunion with old friends
15 September 2019 | Tonga
The Havili crew �-- Sam, Nancy, Darcy and I spent much of the day on shore in
Nomuka today. We were welcomed by the head of school and all the teachers
and students at Kolisi Tupouto�'a (Tupouto�'a College) where I taught in
1980. They sang a number of school songs and a few hymns for us and
performed a couple of dances �-- �"ma�'ulu�'ulu�" by the girls and a �"ta�'olunga�"
by the boys. The students then performed a song that they will be
performing for the upcoming Wesleyan Church quarterly meeting. It was all
marvelous and very reminiscent of the songs and celebrations we performed
way back in my days here. �'Aisake, the head of school, invited us to �"kai
�'efiafi�" (dinner) at his house. We accepted this invitation with gusto and
glee and I knew we were in for an interesting time. After this, Sam, Darcy
and Nancy returned to Havili and to relocate her anchor closer to the
village. The wind was shifting to the north and we wanted a quiet harbor.
I continued to walk around town, guided by Futa Hia, the 9 year old son of
one of my students from 1980. He showed me all over the village and it was
great fun to pass the houses and yards of my former students and their
families who came out to say hello and briefly catch up. We were joined by
a number of Futa�'s young friends and we all had a fun time exploring the
village and I bought them a few crackers and snacks from the tiny �"fale
koloa�" (shops). I stopped and chatted with �'Esilai Taulafo who owns an
outrigger canoe and a couple of octopus lures. He offered to go out and
try to catch an octopus the next morning, to which I readily agreed.
Soon enough, it was time to go to dinner and we returned to �'Aisake�'s house
where his family and the students had turned out an incredible feast of
octopus, chicken, fish, yams, coconuts to drink and even a Tongan spaghetti
dish! �'Aisake and Villiami played guitar and sang as we chatted and ate
all this wonderful food. At the end of the evening, I was asked to sing
�"�'Ise�'Isa�", an old love song that nearly everyone in Tonga knows. I think
several folks had their phones recording a video of this, so there might
even be something on YT or FB by now. Yikes! We all really enjoyed this
time and returned to Havili with tummies and hearts full.
The next morning, �'Esi showed the Havili crew how to prepare the �"maka
feke�" (octopus rock), the lure that is used to catch the wary mollusk.
When finished, he and I set out in our respective craft �-- I poled a 12 foot
outrigger �-- and attempted to get the octopus to �"lele mai�" or �"run to me�"
Unfortunately, with a strong moon and a relatively late tide in the mid
morning hours, we had no luck. Nonetheless, I had an opportunity to try
again and really enjoyed the time with �'
We invited �'Esi over for dinner aboard Havili where we served grilled tuna,
rice and eggplant. He and Sam had plans to go night diving, which they
began around 9:00 PM. I awoke a couple of times while they were out on the
reef and could see an eery glow of their spotlights underwater as they
speared fish until about 1:30 AM when Sam and �'Esi returned with about 60
fish that �'Esi planned to share with family and friends and perhaps to sell
also. Sam kept a parrotfish, a grouper, a snapper and a couple of squid.
Delicious! The next morning, �'Esi returned to say goodbye and to wish us
well on the rest of our journey. He and Sam traded a Tongan pole spear for
Sam�'s diving light. Sam threw in a length of new rubber spear tubing to
round out the deal and �'Esi was positively beaming!
We finally said goodbye to all our friends on Nomuka. It was a wonderful
time to catch up with many old friends and acquaintances and to pass along
a Nomuka connection for Sam to enjoy. He plans to stop again on his way
through the island group next month.
We had some lovely sailing from Nomuka to the tiny island of Limu where we
spent one night. We walked around the island and enjoyed some really good
beach combing and shell collecting. I cast at a few trevally that were
near the shore but caught only a few small snapper. Dinner that night was
a delicious mix of all the fish that Sam and �'Esi speared. We departed
Limu the next morning with Pangai as our destination. On the way, we all
went diving on the barrier reef that protects the waters around Limu and
the nearby islands. Darcy spotted and Sam speared a lobster that easily
fed all four of us for dinner. It was delicious with garlic, butter, olive
oil, S&P served over pasta. Yum!
We checked in at customs in Pangai, Darcy and I confirmed our flights to
Nuku�'alofa the next day and then we all went for a swim off the boat. Our
flight to Pangai was straightforward and we were met at the airport by
�'Etimani Taufa, the grandson of my headmaster from 1980. In Nuku�'alofa, we
went to church, which �-- for me �-- was preceded by drinking kava with Sione,
and the ministers and stewards of the church. Darcy and Sione�'s mother,
Palu, joined us in the church and we enjoyed an hour or so of wonderful
music and the prayerful Tongan language washing over us. We joined the
Taufa family for lunch at their �'api and then returned to town for a walk
and a nap.
We are now getting packed and ready to head to the airport for the final
leg of this amazing Tongan Sojourn. There will be some photos to post at
various locations. Thanks for following us along the way! �'Ofa atu!
More Champagne Sailing and Waltzing with Whales
09 September 2019 | Nomuka Iki, Ha'apai Group
Malo e tau toe lava kihe pongpongini! This is the Tongan greeting meaning "good morning", which translated directly, means something like: Let's be thankful for arriving at this morning's light. Indeed! I write this as Havili bobs happily at our anchorage off Nomuka iki, or Little Nomuka, the island about one mile south of Nomuka where I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in 1980. We arrived yesterday afternoon after a delightful beam reach sail on a port tack - about 20 miles from the island of Ha'afeva where we anchored for one night. On the way, we stopped at a breaking reef in the middle of the ocean and snorkeled for a couple of hours, enjoying the colors of vibrant coral, abundant fishes of all shapes, sizes and colors and the underwater singing of humpbacks. Our journey south through all the islands of Tonga - beginning in Niuatoputapu and on to Vava'u, the Ha'apai and now Nomuka - has been punctuated by many sightings of humpback whales. We have seen as many as 30 whales each day at all points of the compass. Mothers with calves and lone males blow vapor high into the air as they breathe from beneath the waves. They cavort on the surface, slapping with their huge flippers, pounding the chop with their tails and often breaching completely out of the water with each emergence ending in a gigantic, whale-size splash. These whale sightings have been a constant theme of this trip and one of its greatest delights.
Last Saturday, while still anchored off the island of Uoleva, we joined a "vaka mata tofua'a" or whale watch boat. It was a 44-foot Tongan skiff, powered by a 75hp outboard and skippered by Sione and crewed by Muli, a Tongan who seemed to know many of the people I worked with 40 years ago. It was great fun to be on board with them learning about whales and sharing various tales of this area of the South Pacific. Our guide, Viki, quickly spotted a lone male humpback and our group of four divers jumped in to swim with him. This whale was interesting in that he spent quite a long time near the bottom of the sea, at about 80 feet deep, singing and bellowing - much like a bull in a paddock. As we dove toward him, the vibrations of his song resonated in our chests. We could see him, tail-up/ head-down just singing away, no doubt hoping for some cetaceous female company! He would come up for air every 20 minutes or so and that's when the watching really got interesting. We swam right next to him as he rolled up for air and his eye cast a glance at our strange group of onlookers in his neighborhood. Later, we spotted a mother and calf, which, unlike the lone male, spent a lot of time at or very near the surface. We swam with them for well over one hour and had some wonderful interactions. The pair swam in tandem and each was never far from the other. They occasionally dove toward the bottom at about 60 feet deep and then came up for air together, sometimes thrusting their noses above the waves and sometimes simply rolling for air and venting their spouts. The flukes and tails of these animals are powerful, but we never felt threatened or in any sort of danger.
After this incredible whale watching experience, we spent a final night at Uoleva and went ashore for dinner at a lovely little eco resort called Serenity. It was remarkable to see something like this in Tonga - a culturally compatible lodge that has been successful for twelve years. Our dinner was delicious and the company at our table - all Kiwis - interesting and fun to chat with. Sunsets at Uoleva were just south of the islands of Tofua and Kao. Tofua is massive, flat and an active volcano that blew its top over 20,000 years ago. Kao is a dormant volcanic cone - perhaps the next one to blow?! I climbed both of these in in 1980, but - sadly - we won't have time to climb on this trip, so Sam and his crew will have to make an attempt when they return next month on their peregrinations around this Kingdom of Tonga.
There will be more to come about Nomuka. Our first foray into the village yesterday afternoon was wonderful. I visited with four of my former students, a teaching colleague and a few of the locals who were friends from 39 years ago. We'll be heading over this morning and will write more later. Yes, indeed: Malo e tau lava kihe pongipongini!
---------- Sent via SailMail, http://www.sailmail.com
Wonderful Sailing from Vava'u to Ha'apai
06 September 2019 | Ha'ano, Ha'apai Group
You know you're really away from it all and unplugged when you don't know the date or what day of the week it is�...a wonderful feeling! We do, however, know exactly where we are because we have to carefully pick our anchorages based on wind direction and weather. A few days ago (I guess it was Tuesday, September 3) we had a beautiful sail from Vava'u before a nasty cold front with 270 degrees of wind shift was predicted to come through the area. We got up at 4:30 AM so that we could get an early start. Over the 62 miles we averaged over 7 knots on a beam reach to the first island in the Ha'apai Group, named Ha'ano. We needed to arrive while we had good daylight so that we could see all the reefs and coral heads that are plentiful amongst this group of low-lying islands. We arrived just 20 minutes after another boat had anchored right in the middle of the anchorage. It was a large catamaran named Zatara and the skipper, Keith, hailed us on the VHF radio. He told us he and his family of 6 were planning on riding out the impending storm system in this anchorage, but he thought that there was room for us as well. So we anchored nearby and enjoyed some snorkeling before a beautiful sunset and dinner. The calm seas were short lived because the wind picked up through the night and the swells started to come in from the northwest. The Ha'apai group of islands provides little protection from winds other than the prevailing south easterlies. Early the next morning while Henry & Sam went off snorkeling, Nancy and I watched as a humpback whale and her calf slowly swam across the anchorage and went within 50 feet off the stern of the boat! Occasionally we could see whales spouting and breaching off in the distance.
The next 2 days were filled with wind, swells and rain. Henry and I did get ashore on Wednesday to explore the villages of Ha'ano and Muitoa where we met the Peace Corps volunteer, along with her �"family�". This was the principal of the elementary school, her husband and children. They sent us off with a stem of ~40 bananas, and the next day they brought us some papaya, coconuts and a sweet dish called fai kakai. We gave them a few fishing lures and hooks in return.
By the time Friday rolled around, we had all had enough of the rolling and pitching. But before we could go anywhere we had to haul up the two anchors that we had set in order to hold us during the storm. The anchor chain had wound around a clump of rocky coral as the boat had turned in the 270 degree wind shift. And we were now directly in front of Zatara and didn't want to drift down into her as we dealt with our 2 anchors. The wind and 4 foot choppy waves were coming fiercely from the west as Sam, Navy Seal-style, dove into the water to assess the snagged anchor. Several dives later plus good boat driving from Nancy and anchor hauling by Henry, we had our anchors up and stowed and were on our way to our next anchorage near the island of Uoleva. The skies were clearing, the wind was due to shift back to southeast and we were looking forward to many sightings of whales as we sailed on.
Tongan Sojourn 3 - Vava'u Islands
31 August 2019 | Port Maurelle, Vava'u Group
Here we are at day ten of our adventures aboard Havili with Sam and Nancy. We have been cruising in the Vava'u group of islands and seeing many of the places that we visited with Katie and Sam 20 (!) years ago when we chartered the original �"Havili�" from SunSail. On Monday, we stopped at the village of 'Utulei and visited with Tupoutu'a Tonutonu, a Tongan friend who was part of the staff that provided language and cultural training to my Peace Corps group 40 years ago. It was in this village that my group was first introduced to life in a small village and where we all tried using our first halting phrases of the Tongan language. It was great to see Tupou and to catch up with her story from the last several decades. We walked up to the school in 'Utulei and visited with the �"pule ako�" (head of school) at the small Wesleyan church elementary - middle school. We were greeted by a band of rascally Tongan kids whose antics were very reminiscent of the interactions I enjoyed with kids of that age so many years ago - kung fu kicks, boxing stances, a lot of chasing around, fun with English phrases, and always lots of laughter. The children of this country are precious! Pigs, chickens, and dogs are everywhere here; pigs with their trotting piglets rooting around in the village, chickens scratching in yards, and the dogs barking at passersby. As always. We love the morning sounds of all of this as we bob around at our anchorages. Much has changed in Tonga, but as much has stayed the same. From our mooring in Neiafu, where we provisioned with fruits and vegetables - papaya (lesi), bananas (siaine), plantains (hopa), beans (piini), eggplant (paingani), cucumbers (kiukumipa), and coconut and raisin bread (ma) - we sailed to the island of Nuku where we spent the next two nights. We snorkeled, walked along the lovely white sand beach and chatted with the man from the nearby village of Falevai who came out to take our mooring fee (3 nights for TOP15, or USD$6). On the second morning, I took my fly rod to try a few casts over the mid-tide reef. I caught and released two nice grey snapper and then caught and released a huge bluefin trevally of about 18 pounds, which - upon beaching - broke my rod in three pieces. That was a fish of a lifetime for me - the fastest, hardest pulling saltwater critter I have ever hooked. It took about 200 yards of backing off my reel. The whole time the fish was on, it was shadowed by another trevally of about the same size. Fortunately, Sam has one of my old flyrods on board here, so I can still pursue my favorite sport at other anchorages. From Nuku, we sailed over to Mariner's Cave and enjoyed the other-worldly environment of a sub-aquatic cavern about the size of a tennis court. It was here in the 1800's that Will Mariner was led by a Tongan chief for a taste of kava and some storytelling. We sailed from Mariner's to the island of Langito'o where we anchored for another two nights in the lee of a small pancake-shaped island. The winds were south- southeast and blowing up to 25 knots; white caps on the open stretches were reminiscent of those we know from Buzzards Bay at the Cape. We were at a good anchorage with 250 feet of chain on a sandy bottom with a well-grounded 70 pound hook. From here, we took several forays to the island of Vaka'eitu where we met Tevita and his family who live in the bush with just about everything they need. We snorkeled and I took a few casts with the flyrod, but this time the only thing I caught was a painful sting to my left calf from the floating tentacles of a Man o' War. That was something else! That encounter was quite painful and systemic in its effect, but fortunately the sting lasted lonely about 12 hours. Yikes! From Langito'o, we took a day trip to a southerly island of the Vava'u group, Ovalau. Winds at this brief anchorage were still 25 knots and a small sea gently rolled the boat on her beam. Darcy, Sam and Nancy went snorkeling while I stayed aboard Havili. We sailed/ motored from Ovalau to Kapa island where we are anchored at Port Mourelles where Spanish explorers first landed in the 1700's. We are now at our anchorage here, having spent a calm night. Dinner last night was freshly caught grouper (ngatala) with Tongan yams ('ufi) boiled in coconut cream. Not quite as gourmet as the delicious meals that Sam and Nancy have been preparing, but substantial and delicious! We had eggs, bacon and coconut bread for breakfast this Sunday morning and are now about to snorkel before setting out to Neiafu before provisioning for our journey south (weather permitting) to the Ha'apai group, where we plan to stay first at Ha'ano island and then on Lifuka at the Town of Pangai. More to come. All's well aboard SV Havili! Xox, Henry, Darcy, Sam, and Nancy
Tongan Sojourn 2 - Resources
28 August 2019 | Nuku, Vava'u Group
Henry & Darcy
We've been on the boat for a week now and are pretty well adjusted to life on board. One thing that quickly becomes apparent is the need to conserve almost every resource that normally we take for granted. Fresh water is the first obvious resource we need to conserve and Sam is adamant that we use the limited supply only for drinking and cooking. So, we do the dishes, flush toilets and bath with salt water. (Don't tell Sam but I've washed my hair once with a bit of fresh water in a bowl J) We have a water maker on board that converts sea water into fresh through reverse osmosis. It is a slow process, producing about 1.5 gallons per hour, and we've been listening to it run constantly for the past 48 hours�...it sounds a bit like the back & forth of windshield wipers on a big bus�...back & forth, back & forth, back & forth. Electricity is the second resource we use sparingly. Havili has 3 solar panels that produce some electricity but this needs to be supplemented by running the generator and/or the engine once or twice a day for about 1-2 hours. Our stove runs on butane and we hand pump the salt water so no electricity needed there. Anything that isn't in use is turned off at the electric panel. Finally, food: Sam and Nancy provisioned Havili with all sorts of dry and canned goods when they were in Raiatea (part of FP, near Tahiti) a few weeks ago so the larder is packed with things like cooking oils, coconut milk, beans, flour, rice and UHT (Ultra High Heat) milk that doesn't need to be refrigerated until opened. Fresh produce like onions, potatoes, yams and garlic keep well and we have plenty of them. Vegetables like peppers, eggplant and cabbage are kept in the refrigerator, as are cheeses and eggs. It is the fruits like plantains, bananas, breadfruit and papaya that we have to use as they ripen and then hope to get more at villages along the way. The 100 pound tuna is frozen in 4 to 5 pound portions and we've been slowly working our way through it. I made classic New England chowder with it last night (using DP's recipe J) and it turned out very well. And, with Henry & Sam on board, there's the potential for more fish, octopus or lobster almost any time! PS - Coffee! Certainly a priority: we have lots of coffee beans on board and the coffee grinder gets high priority electric use every morning. Chemex drip or Aeropress are preferred brewing methods and Sam prefers his with heavy cream!
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