30. FUA' AMOTU, TONGA, NFTF - 19.1.2009 - 468NM - 3:35 ,

Round the World Flight with HB-PON 2008/09
Rolf Martin FRIEDEN & Manfred Melloh
Wed 21 Jan 2009 20:00

"21:14.6S 175:08.6W"

Our stay at Fiji was relatively short, as we had to catch up a bit with our
planning schedule of our stage 2 part of our trip..

>From what we could see from the air and also on the ground at Nandi Fiji:
A beautiful island state, clean and well organized.

This morning we spent 2 hours plus, to get through all the administrative
work at the airport, and finally at 1145, we were cleared for departure.

Across the Island, climbing through different broken cloud layers to our
cruising altitude of 9'000 feet, we overflew green mountainous terrain with
many rivers and small villages on the river banks before we reached Suva on
the eastern side of the isle.

We noticed the high water level of the rivers, after the heavy rain they had
in the past 7 days.
The tropical rainstorm of the last few days was apparently the worst they
had in the last 50 years!....

Heading out to the open South Pacific in east south easterly direction
towards Tonga we spotted quite a number of small to medium sized
Islands, all surrounded with magnificent coral reefs.

Gradually the weather deteriorated, as we approached Futu'Amotu,
our destination of today and we had to approach in low clouds and rain
using the VOR/DME approach runway11.

On the ground we were greeted by a friendly bunch of Customs and
Immigration officials and our friend Peter Goldstern, the personal Pilot
of the King of Tonga.
Great reception indeed!

Checked in at a small nice German run lodge and then we were off to Peter's
home for a refreshing swim in his lovely pool.

Tomorrow Tuesday we have been invited by Peter to join him as
passengers in the Beach 18 of the King, for a day's excursion to
Vava' U, an Island located 173 miles north of here.

Manfred and I are both very excited about the things awaiting us
tomorrow on our R&R day in the Kingdom of Tonga..

If weather conditions permitting, we will continue or flight Wednesday
morning via Niue Island to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands, across
the International Date Line.

We will in fact arrive there on Tuesday, a day earlier than we left Tonga!.