08 November 2008 | Vuda Point Marina, Fiji
30 October 2008 | Waya Island, Yasawa Group, Fiji
29 October 2008 | Drawaqa Island, Yasawa Islands, Fiji
23 October 2008 | Somo somo Bay, Yasawa Islands, Fiji
21 October 2008 | Blue Lagoon, Yasawa Islands, Fiji
16 October 2008 | Blue Lagoon, Yasawa Islands, Fiji
14 October 2008 | Sawa-i-lau, Yasawa Islands, Fiji
12 October 2008 | Musket Cove, Fiji
09 October 2008 | Vuda Point Marina
11 September 2008 | Vuda Point, Fiji
03 September 2008 | Musket Cove, Fiji
29 August 2008 | Suva
26 August 2008 | Nadi, Fiji
21 August 2008 | Lautoka, Fiji
20 August 2008 | In transit to Fiji
16 August 2008 | Uoleva, Haapai Group, Tonga
11 August 2008 | Lifuka, Haapai Group, Tonga
07 August 2008 | Haafeva, Haapai Group, Tonga
01 August 2008 | Nukualofa

No horizion

21 June 2008 | Vava'u, Tonga
Surprise Steve
No horizon!

For the first time that we can recall since we left Mexico we are anchored where we cannot see the horizon. Neiafu Harbor in the Vavau group of islands is a curving cul de sac, a very well protected harbor; feels like being on a lake. There is a Moorings charter operation here, and numerous cafes and restaurants catering to both charter and individual cruisers. Many of the businesses have put down moorings which they rent, so there are about 75 moorings total. Good thing as the harbor is very deep. It was still full of the World ARC and Blue Water Rally boats when we arrived but we secured an Aquarium Café mooring. The Aquarium is a family operation-a young couple who sailed into Tonga a few years ago and her brother who joined them a couple years ago. Lisa and Jason are from Oakland! In addition to the café, a small store and the moorings, they run a wi fi network, dirt cart excursion business and rent sailing dinghies. It's been our experience that most of the entrepreneurial operations serving tourists/cruisers are run by ex-pats, many of whom originally arrived as cruisers on their own sailboats.

The day after our arrival we walked about town with hordes of pale tourists, many in "inappropriate dress," who were day visitors off a P&O cruise liner. Tonga is a country of strong cultural and religious traditions. Men are not supposed to be shirtless, even at the beach, and women are supposed to have their knees and shoulders covered. So needless to say, tank tops and short shorts are frowned upon, even if the Tongans are too polite to say so. Traditional dress for Tongans is a long wrap skirt for men and women, with either a belt and dangling weaving, or a woven mat tied about the waist. Neiafu being perhaps the most Westernized many men wear pants, and women may wear slacks. The Saturday market is the biggest of the week, and draws a lot of people. The woman in the photo is wearing the most finely woven 'ta'ovala' I have seen. Others are much more like lauhala mats in Hawaii and I have to say they look uncomfortable, but then so were girdles! Things are different here; the local meat purveyor is also collects trash. It is like going to heaven if you are a real estate developer, but only if you are the King and own all the land and can print money. There are many ill conceived properties, and regardless of the investor, each must have a local managing partner.

Vava'u is a wonderful place to come for a week or two and charter a sailboat. You can stay inside the island group and never have to deal with the ocean; they speak English; prices are very reasonable except for fuel; and there are numerous little coves in which to anchor. We are now anchored off the island of Veka'eitu, with only one other boat. We'll be in Vavau for a few weeks before heading south through the other groups and ending up in the capital, Nukalofa, at the end of July for the King's coronation.
Vessel Name: Surprise
Vessel Make/Model: Schumacher 46
Hailing Port: Richmond, CA.
Crew: Steve and Susan Chamberlin
About: Varies by voyage.
Surprise was built in NZ by Davie Norris at Franklin Boatbuilders in Christchurch in 1997. 2 Pacific Cups, Mexico, B.C. and Alaska. Next stop South Pacific. She is a performance cruiser designed by the late Carl Schumacher and, in racing trim, carries a PHRF of 6. Fractional rig, no overlapping [...]
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