Neiafu to Log In
Skipper and First Mate Millard (Big Bear and Pepe)
Tue 5 Nov 2013 23:57
Off to Neiafu to Log In and Finally Go Ashore
We popped over to say ‘farewell’ to Almacantar and Tribe – safe winds and following seas to you, as you head out to New Zealand. Then it was breakfast aboard Millennium, lovely to catch up with John and Nat, and meet Margot, their lovely friend visiting from Sydney for a holiday. Nat really makes a wonderful coconut cake. That done, we could have chilled out all day, but with cast iron will, the skipper bade us move out for the five and a half miles to Neiafu, to formally log in and do the legal stuff.
The picture above is what we were looking at in reality, Bear was quite happy to plough towards the lumpy bit on the chart plotter.
I left the skipper to it, so I could make things spick and span for an onboard inspection. When I came out to wash the salty bits that collect in nooks and crannies in the cockpit – I found he had carried on his ploughing phase and was really on the dry stuff. Mmmm.
Our first look at the main town of Neiafu. We should have tethered Beez to the clearing-in jetty behind and to the left of the big girl, but, no room. There was someone up their mast, a big catamaran and one anchored behind, no wiggling in possible. Radioing in to Customs, the charming voice told us to head over to a mooring buoy and trot in to the offices at no great rush.
We found a Moorings (charter company) buoy free, radioed them and “Yes, you are welcome to stay for as long as you like,” for the princely sum of a fiver a night. Marvelous. Away to our right we could make out the unique little Zebedee, within minutes of radio chat had organised popping over to Alan for sundowners, as soon as our formalities were done. Off we went in Baby Beez.
We found Tony, the lovely Biosecurity man, he told us that the small charge he made was to include one bag of rubbish “As big as you like, drop it in tomorrow or when you are passing........”
Next it was Customs and Lilo was an equally welcoming man, every bit the height, shape and size we had imagined as being the archetypal Tongan male. He asked where our vessel was, we explained about no room and we were sorry. He expressed such apologies at our inconvenience. No problem and off we went along the road to see Sunia (bad knee, old rugby injury and a very sweet, softly spoken man), we were stamped in for a month in seconds. Wonderful. “If you need longer pop in any time.”
We love Tonga already.
The fifty pa’anga note = seventeen pounds and four pence. The twenty = six pounds and eighty two pence, the ten half of that and the very worn five therefore = one pound and seventy pence. The one panga was so soft and worn, we could have used it as a tissue. Another new currency to get used to and another conversion rate to work out.
All the notes feature King George Tupou V, the monocle wearing, graduate of Oxford and Sandhurst came to the throne on the 1st of August 2008, he died on the 18th of March 2012. He was unpopular because his coronation cost a third of a years annual income of the country, he was popular because he introduced democracy. He died unmarried and with no legitimate children. his younger brother succeeds him. There was a brother in the middle called Prince Fatafehi ʻAlaivahamamaʻo Tukuʻaho, but he was stripped of his title after marrying a commoner, born in 1954, he died in 2004,
ʻAhoʻeitu ʻUnuakiʻotonga Tukuʻaho Tupou VI, will have his coronation next year, then new bank notes...... The new king is married with a daughter, two sons and a grandson, so for now the Royal family is set to continue.
Half past three and we realised hunger had set in. A nice café sprang up before us and Bear settled in happily. We thoroughly enjoyed lasagna and shared a bowl of chips. Our gorgeous waitress was Jay, our first chap-ess of the island. We have met many throughout the islands, some stunning, some a little too heavy boned or way too tall to carry it off.
Fakaleiti simply translated means:- ‘in the manner of a lady’. (in Samoa - Fa’afafine. Rae Rae in French Polynesia).
Traditionally, if an island mother had too many boys and not enough daughters to help with chores, such as housework and cooking, one of her sons would be brought up as a daughter. Quite normal and some, quite celebrated. They are a completely ordinary part of society, I adore them, but sometimes want to have a go at reshaping one or two eyebrows with my tweezers.......and give a few nail polish tutorials....... Our Jay was very sweet and giggled freely in a charming manner.
Here on Tonga Fakaleitis is shortened to Leiti and there is an active Association sponsoring several events each year, such as, the International Miss Galaxy Competition (every July), well attended by Leitis and transvestites from many countries. All over a lasagna....
Definitely coming here again, such a lovely place.
We just never tire of looking out to see where the girl is. Beez (centre) is to the left of the girl with her back to us and in front of the only pale blue hulled lady.
Jay pointed out the shop where we could go for a loaf, en route we found a one carefully owned telephone and opposite a ‘shack with a view’. We feel right at home already. Then Bear let us down, oh look there’s the dairy. Err no. That says diary for 2014, it’s a stationery shop. I left the lady laughing as I promised to slap the backs of silly boys legs later on.
On our way back in Baby Beez, we could hear choir practice in the big church, behind the only big hotel in town. The sound was up there with the Harlem Gospel Choir and is a must in the tour books to experience on Sundays. Note to self – find out the time of service.
Back to Beez to pick up some beer o’clocks and a libation or two for me, then off to Beez ol’ mate Zebedee anchored the other side of the mooring field.
So good to see Alan and Zebedee again, little Dougal bobbing behind. So much to catch up on. Since the Panama Canal, Beez Neez has visited twenty two islands in five countries, in thirty different locations and notched up six thousand, eight hundred and fifty three and three quarter miles. Bear and I have added a further seven islands visited on our tour of the Galapagos, (not on Beez but on Vision). Know wonder we are feeling a little tired. We will be in the morning too, as our sundowner ended at well after midnight. Alan and Zebedee were due to leave for New Zealand on the morrow but we all had such a good time, we will repeat it tomorrow night on Beez and they will leave the following day. Marvelous.
ALL IN ALL A SMASHING DAY
A BUSY, FUN DAY