Back to cruise mode
07 August 2008 | Haafeva, Haapai Group, Tonga
We left Nukualofa and Big Mama's Yacht Club (photo) on Tuesday just in time to save our livers from serious damage. The combination of the coronation, the US Navy and the Australian Navy all at Big Mama's was system overload. And yes, in the middle of all our socializing the coronation went off without social protest. The King has agreed to a number of reforms and supposedly the Prime Minister was to announce them next week. But the King pre-empted him and announced them through his spokesman just before the coronation. So absolute power isn't gone yet! After the lovely reception on the flight deck of the J.S. Mc Cain on Friday we invited the Captain to go sailing with us; on Sunday afternoon six of the ships officers arrived and we had a lovely sail, even flew the spinnaker. The drinking and partying went until the wee hours every night.
We're working our way north through the Haapai group of islands that stretch from Vava'u to Nukualofa; all are quite small and low, and there are lots of reefs and tiny islands between. Not a great place for a night passage; did I mention the charts are off by about a half mile? We'll spend another week or so here and then head for Fiji, a 3-4 day passage.
The fishing has improved, and today the Admiral ordered mahi mahi and when we hooked up I figured it was just another aku (small tuna) to throw back, but after struggling with it for 10 minutes saw the bright yellow flash that confirmed we had a nice mahi mahi. The Admiral saw the bright blue flash and her mouth was already watering--nothing quite like fresh mahi! No good fish photos, as we have discovered that the best way to deal with mahi mahi is stick them in a black plastic bag. Since they can't see, they calm down (relatively speaking). But it makes for lousy photos, as the colors fade so fast. Just take my word for it, it was a lovely fish--about seven meals worth. Shared some with Hiraeth, a New Zealand boat who is harbor hopping with us, as they were skunked today.