Thanks for Celebrating!
14 September 2009 | Neiafu, Vava'u Island, Kingdom of Tonga
The drums are knockin' out a beat at a heart stopping rate, while the fire dancer, only a couple of arm lengths away, is eating, twirling and throwing the blazing fire in rhythm to the percussion. Add two beautiful local dancing girls, a menu as long as your leg, about 40 friends, gorgeous fresh flowers and greenery, a traditional band, disco dancing, a perfect sunset, plus a gaggle of children. And let's not forget the cakes, cakes and more cakes! That was my birthday party in Neiafu, Vava'u, Tonga. Tommy came up with the entertainment ideas, décor and menu, but Sandy and Kathy from the Giggling Whale Restaurant executed it flawlessly, gathering together local Tongans, Steve the cake specialist from Crow's Nest Café, and a decorating committee, aka Suzanne (s/v Carinthia) and Lauren (s/v Wayward Wind). They also entertained the kids by inviting them to paint the bathroom walls with all our boat names and logos. So, even when the party ended, our memory of the night will continue through the colorful, playful walls of the loo!
The evening was filled with fun and dancing, but Krista from m/v Karma planned her own gift for me. She and Richard dinghied around, gathering me and many of my boat buddies for a surprise girls brunch. We arrived, all dolled up in dresses and sarongs, to the Crow's Nest Café, where Tess and Steve filled us with a delicious brunch and we filled each other with friendship. Moving around the table of 10, everyone answered what they considered to be the "best and worst" of cruising. The "Worsts" ranged from seasickness and teary goodbyes when our paths diverge, while the "Bests" were filled with culture, family bonding and personal growth. Each person divulged what the next year held for them, sharing dreams and plans. In the end, it was over 4 hours of girl-time, with everyone promising to do this again in New Zealand at a spa, zoo or city café!
Many of my birthdays are spent in beautiful anchorages while cruising. Since my last birthday, which was celebrated in Grenada, Zen has logged over 7,000 nautical miles. Cole asked of all my birthdays which one ranked as my favorite. There's too many fond memories, thanks to my parents and a joyous childhood, while the adult years are credited to my very special husband. Thank you to everyone who celebrated my day this year, it was unique, special and very, very memorable and certainly one of the very best! Mille Grazie!