Not sure if last blog (28 Jun) got through, so a
copy is included in this blog.
Monday, June 28, 2010 12:32 AM
Subject: 18:20S 174:00W
The rest of uor journey to Vava'u turned out to be
very lively with winds up to 48 knots and a fair bit of rain. However as
we rounded the north end of the island things calmed down and we had a leisurely
last few hours arrivinjg at Neiafu, the largest town in Vava'u, at 1300
last Wednesday. We were greeted by Lofty, an old man on a bike, who
conned us into buying a courtesy flag and some bread at a rip off price.
Next we received the health man, the customs man, the immigration man and one
other whose role was indeterminate and were cleared in by 1500. The
immigration man, the last to appear, sat in the saloon drinking beer offered to
him by Philippe, who matched him can for can, and then requested a bit more to
take with him! The customs man whom I met later in the customs building
when paying the various dues, held out his hand which I shook. He said,
apparently surprised, that he thougfht that I was going to give him
There are a number of Blue Water boats here as well
as a lot of washed up ex-pats, mostly from NZ, with pony tails and so on.
Some nice restaurants run by ex-pats and some very indifferent food shops.
Lots of wild pigs running around but probably not enough chickens for chicken
fishing to be a successful sport.
Fenella has arrived and it is great to have a girl,
especially one as nice as her, on board. We are now doodling around the
islands of the Vava'u group which are as beautiful as any we have seen so
far. On Wednesday we head for Tongatapu, the main island, perhaps for an
audience with the King - who knows. It promises to be interesting if a lot
more dirty and dusty than Vava'u. The weather is hot with a few showers -
it seems that winter is a bit late as are the whales. Perhaps we will
see some on the trip to Tongatapu.
Alls well. A broken halyard replaced and
repairs done to the generator cooling system has put Ares back into tip top
Best to all.
Friday, July 23, 2010
At Sea, en route to Noumea, New Caledonia. We
feel we've really turned the corner now since we are back into the Eastern
hemisphere. We have therefore sailed more than halfway round the
world and are within shouting distance of the end of the trip. Well a
loud shout - about 600 miles still to go to New Caledonia and a further 800 to
Brisbane, give or take, but in the grand scheme of things these are just a
couple of short hops.
Tonga allowed us to take a break, Meryon to leave
the boat and fly to Australia to meet up with Suzy and have a holiday in
Tasmania, and Peter and Fenella to take a holiday exploring Tonga. Peter
Meryon and Suzy had a brilliant time in Australia,
borrowing a car and a camper trailer from a wonderfully generous niece and
spending the inside of 2 weeks revisiting old haunts and old friends in
Tassie. It's a really beautiful State and the weather was perfect, so
they had a really enjoyable trip checking out the wineries and the seafood as
well as the plces of interest.
Phillipe was the unlucky one in that he had a
limited amount of things to amuse him during this inter regnum, and was
obviously a bit stir crazy by the time we finally left the rather muddy little
harbour of Nukualofa. However his sentence
is now over and we're on our way again.
Meryon returned to the boat on 17
Jul accompanied by a new member of the crew, said niece's friend Tim,
who volunteered to come at very short notice, so we are now four for the
final stretch to Australia. We have decided to skip Fiji for several
reasons. Firstly going there would take us north quite a ways, and with
the wind being a bit southerly this would potentially make it hard
work getting back south towards Noumea. Secondly under the current miltary
regime clearing in to Fiji is both very bureaucratic and very expensive and we
reckoned that for a couple of days stopover it probably wasn't worth it.
I'm sure it's a great place to cruise at length but we are now quite focussed on
completing the journey and getting home, and dropping in on another island more
or less holds limited appeal.
So Tim, brave lad, is confronted with a 1,000 mile
blue water passage as his very first introduction to sailing! So far he's
bearing up extremely well and hopefully when he gets home he'll be able to say
he enjoyed it. Before leaving Tongatapu he
had an opportunity to see the island as he and Meryon took the island tour on
Sunday, seeing the sights that Peter and Fenella had already enjoyed, and
getting involved in a Tongan feast in the afternoon which was attended by eight
newly elected Tongan beauty queens and about 150 very jolly Tongans who were
into the second week of festivities to mark the King's birthday. (And in
UK we make do with just one little bank holiday!)
Meanwhile the weather is lovely, the sun is bright,
the wind is fair, and the air is pleasantly a little cooler than in
Best wishes to all.