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Date: 31 Aug 2012 04:34:24
Title: Mike and Suse in Tropical Tonga!

Lat 18:41.93S
Lon 173:55.81W

Mike and Suse, our friends from Sydney arrived on Monday and Tonga suddenly got a whole lot more fun! We've been doing all the usual activities, snorkelling, kiting, walking, wakeboarding, a campfire and dinner on the beach and even the whales have been around in the channels between the islands. After picking up supplies and collecting them from the airport, we headed straight out for a swim at swallows cave and then down to Nuku anchorage which is a gorgeous looking anchorage just off a sandbar that connects two small islands. It was a great place for Mike and Suse to relax and get straight into holiday mode with views like this...

The view from Nuku island towards Eua'faka

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Mike chasing the fish in Swallow's Cave

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Predictably with Mike and Archie back together, the number of activities per day has increased and the meals have got larger! Mike had a terrible motorbike crash on our last night in Sydney back in February, and the last time we saw him he was in a hospital bed in A&E. His recovery has been amazing (his ankle is held together with 13 screws!) and it sounds like he has been the most driven patient determined to be fit again in time for the 18 footers sailing season which starts in October. Suse had also just completed a 100km charity walk the day before they flew out to Tonga so they were both in need of some R&R!

Campfire and dinner on uninhabited Ovalau island

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Mike learning to kite and doing pretty well over the lagoon at Mo'una

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The weather has been pretty good and we've explored some of the more remote anchorages, which are so beautiful and similar in appearance to the islands of the Tuamotu's, without the difficult navigation. There is a reason why this place is full of New Zealanders! Our favourite anchorage was last night at Kenutu, which takes a few hours to reach across some shallows and is surrounded by reef, making for a very picturesque and still (quiet) night. We walked across the island to the ocean side, and watched the waves crash onto the cliffs, and blowholes spouting huge amounts of water.

The dramatic unprotected eastern coast of Kenutu

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Suse and Archie with Kenutu's reef behind

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It's been great having friends who can sail and manage the boat on board, and has been a real treat for Archie and me who can relax a bit more (it's pretty tough out here!) They are both also extremely helpful around the boat which is amazing, and of course I am loving having another girl on the boat. We will really miss them when they leave and also when we move back to the UK. Tonight we are heading back into town for a Tongan feast, with traditional dancing and singing on the beach, and then tomorrow we have 60 miles to sail down to the Haa'pai group - Tonga's central island group.

A big blowhole on Kenutu

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Loving the saltwater shower - pass the Timotei shampoo!

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