position S020 08.500 W174 51.700
Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Sat 13 Oct 2018 12:02
Saturday 13 Oct. Leaving Ha'apai Islands Tonga.
Pride before the inevitable fall. I was feeling very self satisfied that all systems were working so knew that something had to go wrong before long. There was quite a squall last night and I thought maybe I should check the dinghy but was discouraged by the teeming rain. Hence when I finally looked in the morning and found the dinghy gone I was angry at myself on two counts- not having made it secure enough and not checking in the rain. It possible that it was secure and was manually removed by a thief in the night but I think that is the less likely theory. Unfortunately the north-south orientation of the islands is such that the easterly winds would take an escapee away from land and there was plenty of time for the runaway to run far far away.
After putting out a call on the radio we motored down to the town, cadged a lift ashore from Gert, a German yachtsman just arrived from Vavau and reported the loss to the Police who were sympathetic but not very proactive. He promised to put the word out and let me know of any developments. Being saturday the Customs were closed along with the Port and Fishing authorities so I called up Gert on the radio and returned to the boat with not much hope of recovery. With plans for Leopard sharks scuppered we decided to head south-west for Tonga Tapu on the off chance that the dinghy was ahead of us as the wind had turned northerly in the morning. We scanned the many beaches with binoculars but so far no joy.
The wind has now dropped and we are motorsailing south overnight. Tonga Tapu is the main capital island, but replacement dinghies probably still too much to expect. I do have our old dinghy in reserve but it has a small leak which I failed to find before and re-checking with a thorough soaping today didn't produce any tell tale bubbles. We have left the Ha'apaies without the required paperwork so hope that Customs in TT will be understanding and not send us back.