Tofa (Goodby) Tonga; Bula (Hello) Fiji
20 August 2008 | In transit to Fiji
This photo should help explain why we had such a hard time leaving Tonga; it is the beach at Uoleva in the Haapai group for those of you with your atlas open.
We departed Monday mid-morning; departures are not casual as there is paperwork to be done with the local officials if one wants to check in at the next port. Additionally, the dingy/outboard need to be deflated and stored, and all manner of rigging put in place to deal with the ocean conditions. The anchor, which normally lives on the bow roller, gets unbolted and stored aft and the chain stowed below. Its about three hours of projects before we are underway.
This is a relatively long crossing of 530 miles; we're heading for the west side of Fiji to meet friends from a boat we met last year. So far the winds have been light and generally from behind us, making for mellow conditions but lousy sailing. The magic GPS tells us we'll arrive late Thursday afternoon, sooner if the breeze picks up. We motor at about 6.7 knots and sailing usually mid-7s to 8.
We'll be happy to arrive; we share the watch keeping 24 hours a day, 4 hour watches during the day, 3 hour at night. It is plenty of time off unless you like to sleep more than a few hours at a time. Our crew is showing signs of age.