The Ha'apai Islands

Sat 19 Jul 2008 01:03
Date Saturday, 19th July
Position: 19:56S 174:43W
Ha'afeva island, the Ha'apai Group of Tongan Islands
Hi folks,
Time is flying by, and it is almost time for Laurie and Vicky to 'jump ship'. this is appropriate, as we are not so far from the island where Capt. Blighe was put ashore by his mutinous crew! We have made our way half way down the Tongan island chain, thanks to an extremely bracing overnight beat into a force six wind two nights ago (Laurie's first offshore, out-of-sight-of-land, overnight sail!) which took us from Vava'u to the Ha'apai Group of Islands. These are all low lying atolls, mostly with surrounding reefs, shallow passes, and the usual scares! The capital village: Pangai on the Island of Lifuka, careful how you pronounce that, is a wonderfully laid back place, even by South Pacific standards. They have a special term for this attitude: 'Fakatonga' (literally; things get done in the end!). We fell for the Mariner's Cafe: the only place in the village to eat: they did wonderful toast and jam for breakfast, and having to go back to the Island to 'check out' proved less af a hardship to the crew than had been anticipated -  and the staff at the Mariner's were pleased to see us again! I have to say that food has been a highlight of the last couple of weeks: we try to outdo one anothers efforts in the galley, last night Laurie particularly impressed with Paella with crab sticks and Vicky did a tropical fruit bread and butter pudding (but without the recepie so was slightly like scrambled eggs on toast with papaya!). We try to mix fresh foods that are available with the ships stores! The ship is getting just a little lighter, we on the other hand are a little bit heavier!!
The weather remains rather changeable and unseasonably cool, but we have lovely sun today, and the promise of more strong winds to blow us to our final Tongan destination: Nuku'alofa, tonight. We have to travel at night to see our way in and out of port during daylight hours, very unfortunate.
Best wishes from us all.