Waiting on Weather?
31 October 2008 | Nuku'alofa, Tongatapu, Tonga
We're still hanging out here in Tongatapu. We've completed all our repairs and are just waiting for that elusive weather window that will (hopefully) ensure us a safe and uneventful passage to the land of Kiwis. Lots of boats have already left- some have had any okay time of it, most have had some challenges.
Fortunately, Tongatapu is not a bad place to be stuck while waiting for weather. We hadn't originally planned to visit Tongatapu because we'd heard the city of Nuku'alofa- which is the major center for government, tourism and commerce- was very industrial and didn't offer any conveniences or services that couldn't be found in Neiafu, up in Vava'u. But I have to say we've been very pleasantly surprised by how much we've enjoyed it here.
First of all our friends on Blue Plains Drifter and Elusive were here when we arrived because Tiffany and Wendy chose to fly to New Zealand from Nuku'alofa (thereby arriving in Auckland in 2 hours instead of 10 days- what the heck are they thinking?!) and the crew members for Steve and Jim were flying in to the airport here. They were quick to give us the "lay of the land" and directed us to anchor at Pangaimotu rather than the downtown harbor of Faua.
Pangaimotu Island is only about 1 mile from Faua and is a beautiful location. The island is surrounded by white sand beach and clear water, and is small enough that you can walk all the way around it in about a half an hour. The only business on the island is Big Mama's Yacht Club, run by "Mama" and her husband, Earl. They really make it easy by offering ferry service to Nuku'alofa several times a day as well as laundry service, internet and diesel deliveries. The evening after we'd arrived Big Mama was having a birthday party for her husband and invited all the "Yachties" to a fabulous buffet dinner (no charge) to thank all the boats for the business they give Big Mama's. It was quite a feast and quite a party.
In addition to Blue Plains Drifter and Elusive, there are loads of other boats we know here, including several kid boats, so the girls have had a great time with old friends and new- running around on the beach, doing crafts, swimming in the water and launching themselves from the rope swing suspended over the water.
We've generally had a good time here, although the weather has been nothing but fickle the entire time we've been in Tonga (one day is overcast, rainy and chilly and the very next can be scorching hot and not a cloud in the sky) and we're READY TO GO. We think the planets have finally aligned to give us a suitable forecast (you know, not too little wind, not too much. No thunderstorms, please) and we expect to be underway once again tomorrow.