To Pangaimotu, via Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu, Kingdom of Tonga
We switched the engine on at twenty past five, to leave Nomuka Iki before it got dark for the overnighter of sixty two miles to Nuku’alofa. The anchor had got itself wrapped around a coral head and after twenty minutes of whizzing round, up it came. The light wind suggested a motor sail. Bear put the genoa out as I picked my way out to deep water. An odd looking sky, the horizon flat but the bottom of the clouds looked quite off balance. After an hour, enough wind to sail with just the genoa out.
Sunset came and went, leaving us a bright sky until around eight o’clock. A very peaceful night, we wound the genoa in to the size of a big bath towel, to slow down, timing our arrival for around ten o’clock in the morning.
The first outer island island of Tongatapu came into view around eight in the morning.
Cannot wait to visit Puke (bottom left)..... We tucked ourselves next to the reef and readied Baby Beez to go ashore to log in.
Our old friend ‘Otunga’ofa was in and being unloaded as we went by.
The building in our out of date cruising guide was clearly derelict, so a quick u-turn to ask the chaps for direction, on our friend.
We asked the chaps where Customs was as they were being whisked in the air – health and safety not – adjusting strops as they went. Laughing and so very cheerful, they told us to go into the harbour, come back on ourselves and we’d find the building in the corner with a flag flying. Off we went.
Some lovely old ladies and a couple of newer ones welcomed us to the capital of Tonga.
And a ‘one careful owner’ too.
We didn’t see anywhere obvious to tie Baby Beez, so I stayed with her while Bear went to do the formalities. I was not a bit bothered as Tongatapu is just fine with me, on the road opposite, parked quietly, was none other than – a bug - how wonderful. Half an hour later the skipper re-appeared looking very hot. Time to find a cold one for him.
Raucous laughter came from a happy group selling beds beside the quay, as we crossed the road.
A long, cold cider, a hearty burger and chips soon restored a massive smile to the captains face in the Billfish Bar and Restaurant. I settled for spicy nuggets and chips.
We liked a sign on the wall.
Back on Beez, we took her to the fuel jetty in the harbour to fill her tanks with water. We had to tie to a big local craft. Our new friend leapt aboard for a chat, he was a high school teacher helping his friend during the half term holidays. He disappeared from whence he came and during the filling process, I did all our washing, scrubbed the cockpit and we had a game of backgammon. The water pressure was low, so low, we began filling at half past two and pulled away from our new friends at a quarter past five. The whole time they had been grinding the floor and we were not sorry to be gone, but they were all such a cheerful lot and played quite good music, we had not such a bad time of it all.
By ten to six we had gone the one and a half miles to Pangaimotu (opposite the docks on the other side of the enormous bay) and anchored between Waka Irie and Dolphin of Leith. Big Mama’s Yacht Club in the distance and the little ferry at the dock.
Just after sunset we visited Seats and Jenny (Waka Irie), they don’t have a fridge on board so we took a couple of cold ones for them. Bear delved into their massive rum collection and soon Iain, Vicky, Finn (aged four) and Petra (nearly three) from Dolphin of Leith joined us. We last saw the boat in La Playita, Panama but had never met the crew, en route to New Zealand to settle. Sundowners turned into midnight.............
ALL IN ALL A FULL AND BUSY DAY
DEFINITELY TIME FOR BED