Vaka Eitu Island, 18:43.2S, 174:06.1W
Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Fri 22 Sep 2017 08:44
Our night at anchor in Port Maurelle was made memorable by the sound of whales singing. It was a low noise that we heard best down below and went on all evening. When we came into the anchorage the night before we were pleasantly surprised by the depth; we expected the water to be quite deep, but believed we had dropped the anchor in 13 metres. When we switched on the instruments in the morning we found the echo sounder had reset itself to read in fathoms. We were actually in 23 metres and didn't have anywhere near enough chain out. Luckily it had not been windy overnight. Phil had a hard job winching up the anchor from that depth.
The Vava'u group consists of the main island of Vava'u, and a number of smaller, low islands and islets to the south. The waterways between the islands are protected from the ocean swell by the islands and reefs, giving smooth waters for sailing, and with a selection of lovely anchorages it is a delight to sail here.
Sailing between the islands
We looked at the anchorage at Nuku Island, said to be the most photographed island in Tonga. It was very picturesque, but the anchorage wasn't particularly good, so we unrolled the sail and carried on to the next spot.
Nuku island - deep water right up to the shore, and coral patches everywhere.
We finally dropped our anchor next to Lape island, in the shallow water between an islet and the shore, but had not been there long when a local man came and asked us to move to a mooring to protect the coral. We hadn't seen the moorings on our way in, but will always use them if they are provided.
We anchored between the islet and the shore behind
Once moored, Phil went ashore to pay our 10 pa'anga mooring fee (about £4) while Sarah stayed on board to enjoy the sunset. Phil returned with two breadfruit, a gift from the islanders.
This afternoon we moved about a mile to the anchorage at Vakaeitu island. It is behind a submerged reef where our chart showed depths of 7 metres, but that was a false hope, so we are anchored in 14 metres, which is manageable for us.
The anchorage at Vakaeitu island
This evening the boats that were already in the bay had organised sundowners on the beach behind us. It was a lovely spot, overlooking the reef, and a chance to finally meet the crews from a number of yachts we have seen, but not spoken too, before.
Drinks with a view