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Date: 30 Sep 2014 20:45:00
Title: Tapana Island, Vava'u

18:42.524S 173:59.217W

Neiafu was great - no wonder they called these the Friendly Islands. Almost everyone we encountered was courteous, helpful, considerate and open. They take the time to talk and are interested in the people visiting them. For example I went to one shop just twice: once to check it out and the second time to buy a carved turtle necklace for £10. On the first visit the assistant asked our names, asked where we were from and where we were going, and whilst we were talking about the goods in the shop, sang us a traditional song and told us a local legend. When I returned on our last day to buy the pendant we'd seen I was greeted with a hug and given heartfelt best wishes for our voyage onwards. Can you picture that happening in Weymouth?!

We took the opportunity to take a trip on a local boat to go whale watching - wonderfully exhilarating to get so close to magnificent humpback whales and even be able to swim alongside them, hearing them call. I'll tell you more about it when I get a chance to post the photos.

We also had the chance to catch up with some friends we'd not seen for months: Scotia, Field Trip, Vela and The Southern Cross were all there so we had a chance to spend some time with those lovely people, as well as spending time with the friends that had arrived around the same time as us and meeting new boats! We even arranged a 'ladies night' where 9 of us met up for dinner on shore and the chaps baby sat whilst having a 'pizza and poker' evening. It was more a pizza and whisky evening, they didn't get around to the poker.

Quite a social whirl. So our 5 days there slid by really quickly and, after checking out of the Vava'u group, which involved a trek across town to pay harbour dues, followed by a visit to immigration in town, followed by customs in the port, we motor sailed down to the utter peace and quiet of Tapana Island. We were planning to spend the day there then have a night sail down to the Ha'apai group but the wind died completely so we stayed here in this sheltered spot, the sea like a mill pond around us, beautiful in the light of a quarter moon.

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