position S018 39.500 W173 58.950

Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Wed 13 Jun 2018 08:11

WEDNESDAY 13th June.  Vavau Tonga .

Tuesday the 12th June shall forever be lost for us. The diary entry shall record that the day simply did not exist.

Arrived Vavau outer islands around midday after another slow night and then motoring with very light wind from 6am-10.30am.  Once the breeze filled in from just north of west I hoisted the spinaker and we enjoyed a lovely sail through the outer islands untill we had to turn north-east to reach the town of Neiafu. Our depth guage packed up this morning- it has been a bit flaky but now stopped working completely. So running under spinaker through what looked like a wide channel on the chart but on the water felt tight between surf on each side was probably not prudent.  However no bumps to report and after an age passing 1st  sandy islands with palm trees, then bigger rocky islands (all appearing to be uninhabited), we started seeing substantial houses on the shoreline of the main island leading up to the town with fishing boats on the wharf and loads of yachts moored beyond.  The harbour is very sheltered on 3 sides and the 4th to the south is the long channel through numerous islands so in effect sheltered all round.

The guide said to tie up at the wharf to check in but with no response on the radio and no clear evidence of a yacht friendly wharf we chose to pick up an empty mooring among the yachts.  Beluga Whalewatching  was written on the mooring bouy along with Call channel 9 but that channel was equally silent when hailed.  We made a quick trip ashore in the dinghy and found a dinghy dock belonging to the Mango bar.  Beluga Whaling was next door and a Dutch New Zealander in the office confirmed that the mooring was fine, ($10 NZ per night) and that we should have checked in before mooring and going ashore.  However as the customs were closed at that hour it seemed we had made the correct choice to moor first. We will however have to take the boat over to the wharf in the morning for them to look us over and check that we are not bringing in anything prohibited. The whale watching DNZ suggested we should stay for 3-4 weeks for the whales to turn up and he would be happy to take us on his fast boat to  see them and maybe if the whales permit to swim with them. That does sound tempting but Vavau may be pushed to keep us jet setters busy for more than a few days.

We stopped unofficially in the bar for a beer and were soon met by the crew of one of the catermerans that were at Palmerston with us. We had a good catch up and a couple more beers by which time it was much too late to think about cooking and so had very good fish and chips in the bar.

1st impressions suggest an easy going place with not much tourism apart from the yachts. Quite a few of the yachts have clearly been here a long time and quite a few are charter catermerans so the number of active yachties may be quite small.

Only probem so far is that the free wifi at the bar wasn't working. We will perservere and try again tomorrow. It is so calm here it feels like we are propped ashore on the hard.

Through the Vavau group of islands.