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

Transit to Nukualofa

22 July 2008 | Nukualofa
We finally tore ourselves away from Neiafu, reluctantly; what a wonderful place to cruise. The photo is of the Mermaid Bar which hosts the Friday night sailboat races. After two straight easy wins Surprise retired to let others have some fun.

We did the transit south to Nukualofa in two hops, with an overnight stop in the Haapai group of islands. The first leg started as a picture perfect sail, including boating a nice small Yellowfin Tuna, until the wind died off and we cranked up the diesel to get to the anchorage before dark. In spite of all of the charts, GPS, and guide books, finding a place to anchor is a visual process. The coral heads and reefs are easy to see with good sunlight, and invisible without it. After carefully finding a good spot in the dying light we were surprised to see another sailboat come in at 8pm. "Vai miti" is a 125' yacht you can charter for $60,000/week; they simply deployed their dinghy and had the dinghy find them a spot with its depth sounder. Professional crew of 5 makes things easier.

Our second leg was an overnight so that we could arrive in Nukualofa during daylight; we targeted a 10am arrival but had breezy conditions and arrived wet and salty at 6am. We dropped anchor at a small island about a mile from town where Mokisha, a boat we met in Bora Bora and a participant in our twice daily radio net, was anchored. After a restorative breakfast and a much needed nap we took the dinghy to town to check in.

For the first time in two years and many countries we met Mr. Official who had a Bad Attitude. Why had it taken us until 2 pm to get to his office if we anchored at 7am? We took a nap after being up all night. Fortunately, we had come from another part of the Kingdom, so we didn't have to go through Immigration, Health, Agriculture and Port Control, just Mr. BA. Later over drinks, our friends Tom and Colleen from Mokisha said they had been shaken down for a bottle of rum when they checked in. Nice.

We had great success finding two of the three shipments we had sent to Nukualofa, including Steve's new I- phone to replace the one that flunked the float test. The town is a beehive of activity as everyone gets ready for the 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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