Start of the last leg

Miss Molly 4
Bob & Peggy Wilkerson/Geoff & Merel Pettifer
Sat 1 Nov 2008 09:02
21:15.40S 175:05.09W

Friday evening in the anchorage off Pangai Motu, a small island off Nuku'alofa was wild. A front swept through with first rain, then strong winds and severe windshifts. Of course it was not until dark when some of the boats started dragging. Great. At that time we did not think that we would be leaving the next morning at the crack of dawn.

But... when that time came the skies were clear and there turned out to be a nice Easterly wind of 15 kts. And yes, we were ready! After a Friday in Nuku'alofa, dealing with officialdom, we decided we had had enough of that town. As lovely and friendly as it was in the Vava'u area, as uninteresting and grubby it is in Nuku'alofa. Of course there was no time to set foot on Pangai Motu, the party island, so may be we're not quite fair on the Tongatapu area. The weather was just nicer in Vava'u and beautiful anchorages galore, you just start itching with exploring sensations.

So here we are, just Southeast of Tongatapu, sailing on a broad reach. We heard on the SSB radio that there are a few boats underway to Minerva reef, but not too many, since nobody but us has left yet after yesterday's front. Our old cruising friend Sam on Ramprasad is already at Minerva, so if we happen to stop there we should catch up with him. If the wind keeps up we hope to be there tomorrow in the late afternoon. We dare not enter the reef at night time, so a daytime arrival is essential. It is 255 Nm from here, so we do need that speed or we might miss out on a lovely full night's sleep mid-ocean!

Cheers for now,
Geoff & Merel