Finish Your Food
22 September 2009 | Maninita Island, Vava'u Group, Kingdom of Tonga
For a week or so, we've hopped from anchorage to anchorage. Some are as little as 5 miles apart, while others are a whopping 10 miles. Grin. Most of the islands are protected by reefs, so waves are not really a factor. Cruisers call one another after the morning VHF net/news and make plans to meet at one of the many outer islands. When you finally run out of sugar, eggs or toilet paper, heaven forbid, it's only a short sail back into town to restock the necessities. Everyone is now either waiting to sail to Australia, via Fiji, or going direct to New Zealand. The conversations over pot lucks, beach combing and snorkel sessions always lead to the weather systems and potential opportunities to make a run for it. We've always used Commanders weather routers, a team in the US who help boaters get from place to place, based on their professional interpretation of weather patterns. October 4th is the earliest we'll be able to set sail to N-Zed. Zen is scheduled to have a little spa treatment in Whangarei, NZ. Yes, she'll get all gussied up before being shipped back to Florida via Dockwise Yacht Transport. So far, there's about 4 boats from our 2009 fleet joining us on the transport ship out of Auckland.
Today, after having spent 3 days with a terrific gang in Vaka'eitu, s/v Dosia and Zen took off for Maninita Island, the southern-most island in the Vava'u Group. It was all too reminiscent of the Aitutaki entrance with reefs all around and the potential of needing a stern anchor. Zen got in first, set the hook, and after glancing around, wondered if it might be easier to just raft Dosia to us. Out came the lines and fenders. As Dosia entered the pass and saw us lined with fenders, Margie yells, "Sleepover!!" while Drew manages a perfect parallel parking job. Looking at the two dissimilar boats tied to one other, we knew the swell would roll us into one another later in the evening. They untied and safely anchored about 250 feet away. This little lagoon anchorage is big enough for only two or three boats at the most. To the east of Maninita is Nuie, about 230 miles away. To the west is Fiji at about 450 miles. In between is open Pacific Ocean...reef anchorages and the brilliant protection they offer sailors is still amazing to me.
Food is being eaten at an alarming rate. NZ customs officials are notorious for incinerating all food items visiting yachts carry into their protected waters. Cruisers know it's smarter to enter N-Zed with little to no food. Tonight we got rid of some Mexican items. Margie and Drew came bearing salad and chili. Add a few tortilla chips, salsa, dessert and voila, dinner is served. Last night was pot luck on Karma. There was hardly any room for plates, Krista's table was covered with buffet items. The conversations were equally rich: Drew had a very close encounter with a calf and mama whale under 15 feet away while snorkeling a reef. Tonight, after circumnavigating our island by foot, the 6 of us watched some classic comedy; "Bill Cosby - Himself". Laughter was loud, the painted sunset sky was our backdrop and the rolling waves over the reef giggled continuously around us. That's life while "killing time" before a passage.