Greetings from Tonga
30 June 2010
We are now happily anchored in the main harbour of Neiafu on the Vava'u island group in Tonga. We've actually been here almost a week now and we are enjoying it immensely, what with all the reasonably-priced restaurants and bars. There are lots of yachts here with us as the Blue Water Rally yachts have also arrived here over the past few days.
Looking back two weeks, we really loved Bora Bora. Kimberley and Roly had a few days with us there before they flew back to Hong Kong and we all enjoyed days of snorkelling on the coral reef followed by a couple of memorable restaurant nights. The best meal was sitting on the yacht club's deck watching the sun set whilst BBQ'ing a huge beef eye fillet with roast potatoes. The Margheritas helped of course!
We dropped Kimberley and Roly off to the airport via dinghy during a rain squall. We were all decked out in Musto's finest wet weather gear while we tried to navigate the 2nm to the airport which is located on the outer reef of Bora Bora. In driving rain, we managed to motor right past the airport and halfway down the island before we realised our mistake. Fortunately, they didn't miss their plane, although they ran into the Air Tahiti pilot's strike and were forced to stay in Tahiti an extra five days. They were "parked" at the Intercontinental Hotel poolside so we didn't feel too sorry for them!
We motored down to the SE corner of Bora Bora where there is a magnificent coral garden on which we snorkelled with our friends from Grace which went late into the evening...
As we departed Bora Bora in little wind, we decided to stop over for a night on the island of Maupiti which is only 30nm west of Bora Bora. Maupiti has a narrow entrance through its coral reef with large breaking waves either side so you feel like you're surfing at Teahuppo. Maupiti is a scenically beautiful island and we hired bikes and cycled right around the island in about an hour and a half. It was funny to see Zoe and Tyler struggle a bit to remember how to ride a bike!
We had a good, but windy crossing from Maupiti to Tonga which took 8 days. We had one 24 hour period of winds consistently above 30 knots and a maximum gust of 42.8 knots. As usual, it was the waves, not the wind, which caused concern. I hope I was able to convey what storm sailing is like in the video I took and which I'll try to upload to the website. Because of the waves, we decided to transit directly to Tonga and miss Palmerstone and Niue as we thought, rightly or wrongly, that they would not offer sufficient shelter. We were glad to arrive in the island group of Vava'u in Tonga which is a very sheltered archipelago.
This past week we've been cleaning the boat, doing laundry and living it up at the many restaurants. A couple of days ago we motored over to the lovely anchorage of Port Mourelle for the night. The next morning, Kirk from Galavanter took Jesse and I over to the famous Mariners Cave where you have to dive down a couple of meters and swim through a tunnel entrance 4m long before you surface inside a huge underwater cave. It was simply amazing - I'll put some photos up on the blog ASAP.
Our friends, Hugh Richardson and Jenny Danks and their kids George and Katie have arrived here this morning and will join us on Nika in a couple of days time. They brought a couple of Sydney Morning Heralds with interesting news of our new PM. I haven't read a newspaper since Xmas so it will be good to catch up on the goss from home. That's about it for now - Malo from the Nika crew.