So much for catching up.
25 September 2007 | Neiafu, Tonga - in the Vava 'U (Va VA oo) chain
Hello. If you have been following the blog, then you know by now that we have a hard time writing a posting everyday, ok every week. What can I say? There are many reasons for getting behind on the blog; the main reason being that there is always so much happening, that to describe it properly would take about as much time as the activity itself. Of course a simple 'where are we' posting might be helpful, with lats and longs, (although our old GPS is slow to find the satellites) but anyway, to write a run-on sentence... I CAN tell you approximately where we are, and where we were.
We were in Neiafu, Tonga until yesterday when we motored about an hour to anchorage #16 for a 'kid's day party', a get-together arranged by the teenagers from some other cruising boats. The many densely tree-covered islands and channels around here look a lot like the Puget Sound, except with palm trees. There are so many tiny islands and anchorages that the local sailboat charter company has numbered the best anchorages 1 through 20, and that's how all the cruisers refer to them..."there's a party tonight at anchorage 8", or "there's a good restaurant near anchorage 11"... Getting from one to another usually only takes an hour or two. Steen and Malou are currently ashore doing a scavenger hunt with the kids. We are glad we stopped in Tonga; it's been a good place so far.
We had arrived in Neiafu (Nee AH foo), the main port of the Vava'u chain, Friday last. Our sail to Neiafu from Niue went well until we ran out of wind Thursday night and motored until dawn as we approached the islands. Niue was great! We went cave exploring and snorkeling and ate lots of ice cream. We also got to go out for dinner at the local resort for 'Fish n Chips' night, but these weren't your ordinary fried fish - they were freshly caught Wahoo, or was it Mahi Mahi? I can't remember, but it was the best restaurant fish n chips I've ever had. (My Uncle Doug in Missouri, however, still holds the title of catching and cooking the best fried fish - ever). We had a great time at dinner - we actually were all showered, shaved - (not Steen), and dressed halfway presentably. You know, that's a big deal out here. It's very difficult to stay freshly pressed. You should see what it looks like when a bunch of cruisers have to get ready for church - it's a hoot. "Do you guys have an iron?". "I know I have a skirt in my locker somewhere." "Are you going to wear shoes?" Actually, that church scene was out of Palmerston, where the cruisers go to church with their host families. Another less interesting reason we haven't written lately is that I was under the weather for about a week with some kind of bug or something, but I'm better now.
The Passage from Niue:
It's a good thing none of our birthdays were September 19th, because we didn't have one....a September 19th that is. No, when we crossed the international date line during the night, we went from midnight Sept. 18th straight to gaining a day, making it suddenly Sept. 20th. Strange isn't it?
Another thing I had never thought about until recently was that the New Zealand kids will all be on vacation when or shortly after we arrive there in November, and they won't go back to school until late February. To an American it sounds at first like an awfully long Christmas vacation, but of course, Australia and Mew Zealand are just out for their 'summer' vacations. That's kind of handy, having Christmas in the middle of your summer vacation.
Anyway, about 30 minutes out of Niue, under sail two hours before sunset, our staysail suddenly collapsed down onto the deck in a surprisingly quick and orderly fashion. Steen found that we had parted a block, one of our old teak blocks; the one near the mast-top that holds that staysail halyard up. He found the teak halves on deck. Hm. I may not be the best at a lot of things, like cooking, cleaning, organization, time-management...communication, and a bunch of other things, but when someone needs to go aloft (climb the mast) while underway, I have to say that I will almost always rise to the challenge. To me, the responsibility of raising a well rounded, mannered, responsible, caring child is infinitely more scary than climbing the mast. Anyway, the repair went well (unscrew old block pieces off, tighten new block on, lead the halyard through) and we were soon underway. The only casualty were the minor rub burns on my legs; mast climbing TIP: wear pants, not shorts. Lastly, I think the hard work was done by Steen, who had to winch me up - that's the real work.
There is a bunch of other stuff that we need to write about, but I can't think of it right now.
If you are lucky enough to have National Geographic on DVD, look up March 1968 for an interesting story on Tonga and the coronation of the king. Or, if you are a pack rat like me, you may have the original paper copy.
Take care and no promises about the next posting. Did you know that 'motored' is not a word? At least it always comes up wrong in my spell check.