22 October 2012 | Nukualofa, Tongatapu, Tonga
This is the term used to describe the mentality of us cruisers here in Tonga awaiting the PERFECT weather window for the jump to Kiwi land. It comes from the need for us (and the 30 or so other yachties) to analyze and re-analyze and then discuss every night and then re-check and analyze all things weather, looking for that perfect timing to make the run to NZ.
This is the only jump Tom has ever been worried about during our whole trip (not knowing the Bora to Tonga run is typically nasty). Whenever internet is available, he checks and studies the weather coming off Australia and up from the Antarctic Ocean. Then he discusses it with other cruisers, some of which have hired professional weather advisers. The lows from the ice are full gales and very severe with extreme seas. The trend from Oz is alternating highs and lows. When they collide, it makes for an ugly situation, thus all precautions are taken to avoid this. This in turn creates a great level of over analyzing which paralyzes us and keeps us waiting for a perfect weather window that will almost never be there.
We have talked to numerous Kiwis that make the trip annually and they state that the jump is way over rated and not as tough as we have built it up to be. We hope this is the case but none the less we are watching closely.
Currently the window is closed with a trough off Oz and a nasty low below NZ. But then a high moves off Oz and looks like it may park in our path for a while, but this means almost no wind. In no wind we must run the engine to keep moving so we don't get stuck when the next low spins up. So it looks like it may be "feast or famine". For now we are here until at least next week.
In other news; we have filed our clearance paperwork for NZ (they require it at least 48 hrs ahead of arrival). We are preparing to check out of Tonga and fill up the tank with our duty free diesel and a boatload of water for the trip. The past few days have been filled with fishing, snorkeling around a couple shipwrecks, reading, and spending our evenings at Big Mamas Yacht Club.
Big Mamas is a great place. It's not a typical yacht club, it's more of a restaurant/bar, but since you need a yacht to go, she calls it a yacht club. The burgers are great and the beer cheap so it meets all our criteria for a great place. Big Mama herself is a very funny lady to talk with and trade some laughs with. She can also point you, or take care of any of your boat life type needs (water, laundry, water taxi, etc.). Just keep the conversation away from sea cucumber uses and needs (Just kidding Mama!). The place sits on the beach and faces the sunsets that are wonderful. The floor is all sand so we never wear shoes and food DOES taste better with your toes in the sand!
We LOVE Tonga. To future cruisers; the scenery is as good as Polynesia, but the people are way friendlier and everything is much cheaper. To gauge pricing I'll use bar beer prices as an example: In the states a beer will cost $5US, in Mexico $2-3US, in Polynesia $7-14US, and in Tonga its $2-3US. In hindsight we wish we had left more time for Tonga and not so much for Polynesia. We can't wait to see what NZ has in store for us.