Miss Molly 4
Bob & Peggy Wilkerson/Geoff & Merel Pettifer
Fri 22 May 2009 07:27
19:50.97 S
174:25.06 W

Yesterday we spent most of the day in Nuku'alofa clearing in with customs, immigration, port authorities all in different locations to do part of that same process backwards again since we were leaving the Tongatapu area the next day and for that you have to clear out at Tongatapu. In the afternoon we managed to have the shortest swim in history on Miss Molly. The water was inviting and not cold, but after a few minutes in there we felt little nibbles on us. The nibblers were so small that we could hardly work out what it was, probably very small jellyfish. So out again, shame. We could have put on the shorties or stinger suits, but no, too much effort. Another lovely night at anchor though and a starry night. We went to bed early, because today we had to leave early to make some miles to get further North.

Two sailing boats had already left the anchorage before us and we were heading in the same direction. So it goes without saying that the race was on from 7:00 a.m. There was more wind than we expected so Miss Molly did a good job leaving both competitors behind. We also saw the new Tongan island, created by a volcanic eruption only months ago, in the distance. It looked just like another island and it was too far to see anything special about it.

Since we made such great progress (averaging 9 kts!) we decided to push a little further than we originally thought, every mile in the pocket cannot be taken away and you have to sail on today's wind as tomorrow's wind may not be there. 11 hours and 92 Nm later we dropped the hook behind the tranquil island Uoleva at the Northern end of the Ha'apai island group, long daysails being the trade-off for a full night's sleep. When we furled the mainsail for the night we discovered that there was a 10 inch rip on one of the seems up at the 2nd spreader. That means that we cannot use more than half of the mainsail tomorrow to continue the last 70+ miles to Vava'u. So we will definitely be slower than today. We can repair it ourselves, but would rather do that in the secure harbour of Neiafu in Vava'u as we will have to take the sail down to make the repair. At the moment the rip is neatly tucked away in the mast and it should stay there until it is calm enough to take the sail down. Until then we will make do with what's available. Molly never gives up!

Cheers from Geoff & Merel